How Does Your Reproductive System Work?

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Human Reproductive System

All organisms including humans reproduce to produce offspring and continue their race. As a result, a young one is created which can have all the characteristics as that of the parent organism and follow the same cycle. For this, a reproductive system is required which works differently for different organisms. Humans have different reproductive systems and organs in males and females and both of these work together to produce offspring. A high level of sexual differentiation is present in humans. To know- How does your reproductive system work, we need to know about the reproductive organs, their functions and characteristics.

Briefly explaining, human reproduction generally involves internal fertilization by the means of sexual intercourse. The process where the male penis insertion into the female’s vagina takes place, followed by the ejaculation of semen containing sperm. Then, a small amount of the sperm passes into the uterus through the cervix and further into the Fallopian tubes where fertilization of the ovum takes place. One sperm is only needed to fertilize the ovum, After fertilization, the fertilized ovum which forms a zygote, travels out of the fallopian tube and then into the uterus where it is implanted in the uterine wall. This is the beginning of pregnancy, the gestation period that continues for around nine months when the foetus develops and concludes with a childbirth via labor. The labor involves contraction of the uterine muscles and then the cervix dilates over a period of time (a few hours) and the baby passes out of the vagina. These are called human infants who depend on their caregivers and parental care. 

Structure of Human Reproductive System

1. Male Reproductive System

  • It consists of a series of organs situated outside around the pelvis region of the male body and these contribute towards the reproductive process. 

  • The primary function of the reproductive system is provision of the male sperm for the fertilization of the ovum. 

The Three Categories of the Male Reproductive Organs include:

  1. Spermatozoa (sperm): It is produced in the testes and present in the scrotum which regulates the temperature. Immature sperm travels to the epididymis for development and storage. 

  2. Cowper’s gland, seminal vesicles, vas deferens and prostate: These glands produce ejaculatory fluid.

  3. Penis, Urethra and vas deferens: These play a major role in copulation and deposition of the sperm within the female. 

  • Major changes in a male body when he reaches teenager include development of secondary characteristics. This includes more muscular and larger stature, facial and body hair, deepened or cracked voice, broadened shoulders and development of Adam’s apple. Androgen and testosterone are important male sex hormones. 

  • The testes releases a hormone which is responsible for the development of physical characteristics in men and also controls the sperm development.

2. Female Reproductive System

  • It is a series of organs located inside and also around the pelvic region of the female body. 

  • It consists of three main parts namely:

  1. Vulva: It leads to the vagina and the vaginal opening to the uterus.

  2. Uterus: It holds the developing foetus.

  3. Ovaries: It produces the female’s ova. 

  • In females, breasts are involved during the parenting stage of reproduction and are the important part of the reproductive system.

  • The vagina meets outside at the vulva that includes labia, urethra and clitoris. All of this region gets lubricated by mucus during intercourse by the Bartholin’s gland. 

  • Fallopian tubes attach the uterus to the ovaries and the cervix attaches the vagina to the uterus. 

  • Each ovary consists of hundreds of ova called egg cells.

  • One ovum releases and is passed through the fallopian tube into the uterus. 

  • When the ovum is fertilised by sperm, it gets attached to the endometrium and the foetus develops. 

Human Reproduction Process (Gametogenesis)

  • Gametogenesis is the process by which the gametes are produced within the gonads and it occurs when some germ cells undergo meiosis for splitting the normal diploid number of chromosomes into haploid cells. Diploid number of chromosomes, n=46 and haploid cells have only 23 chromosomes.

  • Spermatogenesis is the process in males that takes place after puberty in the testes when sperm release.

  • The survival of sperms need a temperature below the normal core body temperature. Scrotum helps in regulation of temperature required for its survival.

  • In females, oogenesis is the gametogenesis process that occurs in the ovaries (ovarian follicles). The process doesn’t produce mature ovum until puberty. 

  • Differing to that of males, each of the original diploid germ cells form only one mature ovum and 3 polar bodies that are not capable of undergoing fertilization. 

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the risks of diseases for the Human Reproductive System?

Ans. Human reproductive system is also susceptible to diseases and there are four types of diseases in humans that can occur, these include congenital abnormalities, infections, cancers and problems caused by environmental factors, psychological issues, physical damage  and autoimmune disorders.

2. What is an Ovary?

Ans. An ovary is a ductless reproductive organ or gland that helps in the production of the female eggs, known as ova or ovum in singular form.

3. How is the Human Reproductive System?

Ans. It is a combination of internal and external organs that help in executing the reproductive processes in both males and females. Male reproductive system consists of two major parts namely the penis and the testes. Testes produce the sperms and are provided in an external pouch-like structure called scrotum. Female reproductive system consists of clitoris, labia minora and the Bartholin’s glands. Most important organs of the female reproductive system are the uterus, the ovaries and the vagina that help in receiving the semen from the male reproductive system to further undergo fertilization.