Image by Robina Weermeijer

Organ Systems

Reproductive System

The function of the reproductive system is to produce eggs and sperm while transporting and caring for egg and sperm cells, to nurture the developing offspring, and to produce hormones that regulate certain bodily functions. The reproductive system is different in males and females and contains different structures. Primary reproductive structures include the ovaries in females and the testes in males. These structures are responsible for egg production in women and sperm production in men, and both ovaries and testes secrete hormones that regulate reproductive function. Secondary reproductive structures include every other aspect of the reproductive system and are responsible for maintenance and transportation of egg and sperm cells among other functions. Female reproductive organs include the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina, accessory glands, external genitalia (clitoris, labia, urethral orifice), and mammary glands, which produce milk. The female reproductive system is also in charge of menstruation, which is the shedding of the uterine lining approximately every 28 days. Menstruation does not occur when the egg is fertilized and the female becomes pregnant. Menopause is the cessation of menstruation during middle age caused by the decreased production of certain hormones. Menopause is a healthy and normal part of aging in women. The male reproductive system includes the testes, penis, prostate gland, bulbourethral gland, seminal vesicle, bladder, and duct system, which contains the epididymis, ductus deferens, ejaculatory ducts, and urethra.

Diagram of the Male Reproductive System

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Diagram of the Female Reproductive System

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Resources

Better Health Channel. (n.d.). Reproductive system.  https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/reproductive-system

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, April 20). Reproductive health and the workplace. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/repro/femalereproductivesystem.html

National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Introduction to the reproductive system. https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/reproductive/.