Sexual reproduction is the ability to combine genetic information from two parents to produce offspring. Males produce small mobile haploid gametes, called sperm, which fertilize the female gamete, the egg, to produce a zygote. The male reproductive system consists of several organs including the testes, prostate, and penis. Follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and testosterone are three hormones that regulate key physiological processes of the male reproductive system. This system also produces, transports, and stores sperm as well as delivers sperm to the female reproductive tract for fertilization. Through the action of sexual intercourse, the male sperm unites with the female egg during the process of fertilization to produce a diploid zygote that can develop into a new individual.
At A Glance
- The primary male reproductive organs are the testes, which produce male gametes and testosterone, and the accessory organs including the penis, glands, ducts, and tubules.
- The scrotum is a sac-like structure that hangs from the root of the penis and contains the testes, which are reproductive organs that function to produce male gametes and testosterone.
Sperm cells are produced in the seminiferous tubules of the testes before traveling in seminal fluid through a network of ducts that lead to outside the body.
- Semen is a white, viscous fluid produced by male accessory glands that carries sperm to the female reproductive tract following male ejaculation.
- The penis is the organ that propels seminal fluid containing sperm outside the body.
Spermatogenesis is the production of sperm by meiosis. Sperm cells have three parts: a head containing the genetic information, a midpiece with mitochondria to provide energy, and a flagellum to allow for locomotion.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) produced by the anterior pituitary gland and testosterone produced by the testes are the three principle hormones affecting the male reproductive system.
- The stages of sexual response include excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.