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Overview of the Male Reproductive System

Author(s): Roberta Anding, MS, RD/LD, CDE
Showing Results for: hormones Return to Presentation

Human Reproductive System

The reproductive system is responsible for producing, storing and releasing specialized cells called gametes and then transporting them to a place where fertilization can occur. As the fertilized egg (called a zygote) begins to divide, it becomes an embryo and must be maintained within the body during a critical period of development.

The testes produce the male gamete (called sperm) in the seminiferous tubules.  From there, sperm are moved through the epididymus and the vas deferens, past the seminal vesicle (where seminal fluid is produced), through the prostate gland, past the bulbourethral gland (Cowper's gland) and out of the body through the urethra. Testosterone, the primary male androgen, is produced by the testes and is regulated through a negative biofeedback system.

Eggs are produced in the ovary of the female before birth. Following the onset of puberty, they are matured and released in a process called ovulation. After ovulation, the egg is swept into the fallopian tube where fertilization can take place.  If the egg is fertilized, it passes to the uterus, where implantation occurs in the blood rich inner layer of the uterus (the endometrium). The outer end of the uterus is called the cervix. Beyond that is a canal called the vagina. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland along with estrogen and progesterone from the ovary, are the primary hormones controlling the monthly preparation of the endometrium and maturation of the egg (called the menstrual cycle).