The reproductive system enables men and women to reproduce. The reproductive system is very different in males and females: in men it includes the penis, prostate, testicles, seminal vesicles and the sperm ducts, while in women it is formed from the ovary, the fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina and the vulva.


What is the reproductive system?

The reproductive system, with the function of its various bodies, facilitates the reproduction of the human race.


The male reproductive system

The male reproductive system consists of the penis, which is the male reproductive organ par excellence, as well as the last part of the urinary tract. Then, there is the prostate, formed by fibrous tissue and muscle, whose main task is to produce and store the liquid semen, which is then released during ejaculation. 

The testicles are responsible for the production of sperm and the secretion of the hormone testosterone. Moreover, there are the seminal vesicles that are located one on each side above the prostate, whose task is to secrete a sticky substance that forms the semen. Finally, the sperm ducts allow the transit of sperm from the testicles to the outside of the body and facilitate the maturation of the sperm cells themselves.


The female reproductive system

The female reproductive tract is formed from the ovary, the fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina and vulva. The ovary consists of two almond-shaped glands, the ovaries, which produce eggs, elements essential for reproduction, as well as the secretion of sex hormones that regulate all stages of the woman's reproductive life. 

Furthermore, there are the fallopian tubes, two symmetrical ducts that connect each of the two ovaries with the uterus and represent the normal site of fertilization, or the place where the meeting between the egg and sperm occurs. The uterus is the centre of the female reproductive system and it serves to receive the fertilized egg, to facilitate the development and the delivery of the foetus when the pregnancy comes to an end. The vagina is the conduit that connects the last part of the neck of the uterus with the external environment and the vulva is the set of female external genitalia.

During sexual intercourse semen is released into the vagina and transported into the fallopian tube. The fallopian tube is the place where the sperm cell meets the female ovum or where the actual fertilization occurs. However, fertilization can only occur during ovulation, a time at which the ovum is released from the ovary and transported in the fallopian tube. A single sperm is necessary to fertilize the ovum. In the process of fertilization, the sperm enters the ovum in order for the nuclei of the sperm and egg cells to combine and form a zygote. The zygote is later transported to the uterus where it remains for several days before being implanted into the uterine lining.


What is the function of the reproductive system?

The function of the reproductive system is to allow the production of female gametes (ova) and male gametes (spermatozoa) and to permit the fertilization of the egg and development of the foetus.