Sexual Reproduction and Reproductive Systems

What Is Sexual Reproduction?

The fundamental biological process by which parent organisms produce offspring of their kind is called reproduction. The two primary ways in which organisms reproduce, one is asexual, and the other process in which the multicellular eukaryotes reproduce is called the sexual reproduction. The practice of sexual reproduction is common in the life-cycle of eukaryotes and does not occur in prokaryotes. Prokaryotes or the organisms with single nuclei produce their offspring through procedures like conjugation, transduction, and transformation, which might have been the precursor of eukaryotic organisms. The process of sexual reproduction involves two parent individuals who offer a gamete each, and from the fusion of these two gametes, the progeny is formed.

If we want to define sexual reproduction, we can say that in higher organisms the process in which two individuals of opposite gender interacts for the fusion of two haploid gamete cells which forms a zygote and ultimately into a new living organism of the same species is called sexual reproduction.

Sexual Reproduction In Human Beings

Sexual reproduction also occurs in plants, but today we are going to discuss human reproduction. The number of chromosomes in the human body is 46 (present in 23 pairs), during sexual reproduction meiosis occurs where the diploid (2n) parent cell divides to form gametes which are haploid (n) cells containing only 23 chromosomes (which is half the number of chromosomes originally in a cell). These chromosomes contain parent DNA sequences and are responsible for carrying the genetic information in the progeny. Then the haploid male motile gamete (sperm) unites with the haploid female gamete (ovum), to form a diploid zygote cell (2n) through fertilization of the egg, this later develops into a child.    

Female Reproductive Organs

The female reproductive system includes all the different sexual organs in the female body which are involved in the production of ovum, process of ovulation, foetus formation.    

The following are the primary female reproductive organs that are located near the lateral walls of the pelvic cavity are:

  • Ovary – One of the major organs in the list of female reproductive organs is the pair of ovaries. These are situated on either side of the Uterus near the free end of the fallopian tube, which is located in the pelvic cavity. Ovaries produce hormones and ovum.

  • Fallopian Tubes – The two 10-12cm long tubes formed from both sides of the Uterus and extend up to the ovaries are called the Fallopian tubes. This female reproductive organ carries the ovum which is later fertilized in the ampulla.

  • Uterus – The pear-shaped muscular organ of 6-7cm in length and around 5cm in breadth, and is located in the pelvic cavity in the middle of the urinary bladder and rectum is called Uterus. It is also commonly called the ‘womb’ as it is where the embryo develops and holds the baby after fertilization (during pregnancy). The Uterus has a strong muscular wall consisting of three layers, and the organ can be divided into three parts, namely Fundus, Body and Cervix.

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  • Cervix – In the female reproductive organ called Uterus, the lower tubular part that connects the vagina with the Uterus is called the Cervix.

  • Vagina – One of the most primary female reproductive organs and also an excretory organ, which is a tubular part after the Cervix. The vagina is the muscular genital tract that opens into the vulva (vulva includes clitoris, labia, vestibule, hymen, and hymen). Vagina acts a path for the Penis during coitus and the baby during delivery.

Male Reproductive Organs

Male reproductive organs which are involved in the process of production and secretion of sperms are united to form the male reproductive system. These organs are located in the lower abdomen around the pelvic region of the male body. The primary male reproductive organs are:

  • Penis – It is the primary male reproductive organ, which is tubular with a small opening at the top, and it is responsible for the ejaculation of fluid semen that contains the reproductive cells called sperms.

  • Scrotum – It is a small muscular sac situated behind and below the Penis. Scrotum consists of testes, and its function is to maintain the optimum low temperature for sperm production.

  • Testes – The pair of the oval-shaped male reproductive organ that is responsible for the synthesis of the male hormone testosterone and the production of sperms is called Testicles or Testis.

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  • Vas Deferens – The muscular tube that carries the mature sperm from the Testes to the Urethra is called the Vas Deferens.

  • Urethra – The narrow tube of the male reproductive system that conducts both urine and semen from the Urinary bladder to the male reproductive organ Penis.

Solved Examples

What are some of the sexually transmitted diseases?

Answer: A sexually transmitted disease is when an infection caused by a bacteria, virus, or parasite is transferred from one person to another through sexual contact. Some of the STDs are Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, etc.   

Fun Facts

  • Sexual reproduction results in the formation of offspring with diverse genetics that differ from the parent organisms. 

  • Sexual reproduction is the reason for variation in species, and when a change lasts for a very long time because of environmental condition suitability, ultimately results in evolution. 

  • From asexual reproduction, twice as many offspring are produced in comparison to sexual reproduction.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. State some of the functions of the female reproductive system.

Answer: The female reproductive system functions include the following points which are essential for sexual reproduction in human beings-

  • Ova are produced by the germinal epithelial cells of the ovary in the Graafian follicle.

  • Hormones like Oestrogen, Progesterone, and Relaxin are produced by the ovary.

  • Fertilization occurs in the fallopian tube of the female reproductive organs.

  • In the Uterus, implantation takes place.

  • In the female reproductive system, parturition is a vital function.

  • After childbirth, the mammary glands (which also belong to the female reproductive system) secrete milk because of some hormonal changes, and this milk is the primary food of the newborn.The mother’s milk is very important for the baby.

2. State some of the functions of the male reproductive system?

Answer: The male reproductive system functions include the following points which are essential for sexual reproduction in human beings-

  • The male hormones are also produced and secreted by the male reproductive system.

  • The primary function of the male reproductive system is to produce and transport the semen, which is then excreted protective fluid, and the sperms, which are the male reproductive cells. 

  • The male reproductive system is also essential for discharging the reproductive gametes in the female reproductive tract.

  • Spermatogenesis is the process of sperm production, which begins at male puberty and continues throughout their life. 

  • After sperms are produced, they travel to the epididymis for maturation and sorting. Several hundred million sperm are created every day in the male reproductive system.