Reproductive System Organs

The primary function of the reproductive system is to allow the creation of a pregnancy. The male and female sexual organs, while derived from similar embryonic structures, are radically different in appearance and function. Female reproductive organs are found inside the pelvis, while the majority of male reproductive organs are located outside the body. What are the major organs for female and male reproductive system? What are their functions?

Female Reproductive System Organs

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External structures

Organs

Description and functions

Labia majora

Considered the “large lips” and this structure is the most visible part of the external female sexual anatomy.
The labia are covered with hair after puberty and this is felt to provide cushioning during sexual activity.
The main purpose of the labia majora or external labia is to close and protect other external sexual organs.

Labia minora

Considered the “small lips” and are located inside the labia majora. These smaller labia are visible when the labia majora are separated.
These lips surround the vaginal opening and extend upward to form protection around both the clitoris and urethra.
The urethra is the tube connecting the bladder to the outside of the body and provides an opening for urine to pass through.

Bartholin's glands

These glands are located beside the vaginal opening and produce mucus for lubrication.

Clitoris

This is a highly sensitive structure packed with nerve endings and is analogous to head of a male’s penis.
The clitoris is very sensitive and can become erect due to increased blood flow during sexual stimulation.
The clitoris is covered and protected by a fold of skin called the clitoral hood.

Internal organs

Organs

Description and functions

Vagina

This is a canal or tube-like structure for delivery of baby
The vagina also receives the penis during intercourse.
The cervix is found at the end of the vagina and is the opening of the uterus.
The cervix will stretch, soften and dilate at the time of birth to allow passage of the baby from the uterus into the vagina and then out of the female’s body.

Uterus (womb)

This is a fist sized muscular organ that houses baby during pregnancy.
During the menstrual period, the uterus sheds it’s lining and produces vaginal bleeding.
Normally the size of a fist, the uterus grows and stretches rapidly during pregnancy. At 20 weeks of pregnancy, the uterus is at the level of the belly button.

Ovaries

There are two ovaries and one is located on each side of the uterus. They produce eggs and other hormones. Ligaments and blood vessels support the ovaries.

Fallopian tubes

These tubes connect the ovaries to uterus.
The fimbria or “fingers” of the fallopian tube capture an egg after it is released by the ovary and guide it into a fallopian tube
The egg then travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus.

Male Reproductive System Organs

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External structures

Organs

Description and functions

Penis

The penis becomes engorged with blood during sexual arousal and is inserted into vagina during intercourse.
The penis has 3 parts: base, shaft and head (glans).
The head or glans is very sensitive to touch and more so during sexual arousal.
The urethra passes through the penis and allows passage of urine and semen.
A loose portion of skin called foreskin covers head of penis but may be removed during circumcision procedure.

Scrotum

This is a sac of loose skin the holds the testicles. The skin is quite thin and a small amount of muscle in the wall of the scrotum allows it to contract and relax. This is important to control the temperature inside the testicles.
The scrotum is covered with hair starting in puberty.

Testicles (testes)

The two nut-like structures are analogous to ovaries and two are present in normal males.
The testicles are responsible for the production of sperm and sex hormones such as testosterone.
Structures called the seminiferous tubules inside the testicles produce sperm.

Internal organs

Organs

Description and functions

Epididymis

These coiled tubes sitting on top of each testicle and help bring sperm to maturity.
The epididymis also transports and stores sperm.
These structures help to push sperm into vas deferens during sexual arousal.

Vas deferens

This is a muscular tube that connects each epididymis to the penis.
Sperm travel from the testicles through each epididymis and then through the vas deferens to the urethra (inside penis) during ejaculation.

Ejaculatory ducts

These ducts are formed by the fusion of vas deferens and seminal vesicles.
They empty their contents into the urethra during ejaculation.

Urethra

This tube passes from bladder through penis to outside of body.
Its function is to transport sperm during sex and also urine during urination.
During intercourse, blood flow blocks urine from entering the urethra.

Seminal vesicles

These sacs produce fluid containing sugar for the health and nutrition of sperm.
The seminal vesicles produce the majority of volume comprising the ejaculate fluid.

Prostate gland

This walnut sized gland is located near rectum in males.
The urethra passes through prostate. The gland is basically like a sponge with ducts and blood vessels.
The prostate produces additional fluid that is added to the ejaculate fluid.
One of the functions of this fluid is to help nourish the sperm.

Bulbourethral glands

These small located on either side of urethra near prostate gland.
They are pea sized and can be felt between scrotum and rectum
These glands produce additional fluid for lubrication of urethra during sexual activity.
The primary function is to neutralize the acidity of urethra to protect sperm during their journey out of the body during ejaculation.

 
 
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