GYNECOLOGY Article · 1 August 2022

Anatomy of reproductive organs (male and female) – everything you should know!

For a woman to give birth to a child, she needs an efficient reproductive system. Cells are made in it, from which connections later develop a new life. Each of the elements of the female and male reproductive system has some important task to do. What is it? You can learn this from our article.

anatomy of reproductive organs

The functions of female reproductive system


The female reproductive system consists of internal and external organs. The first group includes ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and vagina, the second group includes larger labia, labia minora, clitoris and vaginal vestibule. The task of the female reproductive system is primarily to create reproductive cells that, when combined with a sperm, will form an embryo. The female reproductive system is also responsible for the production of sex hormones and creates conditions for the proper development of the fetus. Let’s now look at the individual elements of the female reproductive system.


Ovaries – they produce egg cells


The ovaries are the equivalent of a man’s testicles. They are almond-shaped and fit into the abdominal cavity on both sides of the uterus. The girl’s ovaries, already at birth, are equipped with hundreds of thousands of eggs. However, throughout its entire life (from puberty to menopause) it ripens and only a few hundred are released from them. The ovaries also produce the most important sex hormones, including those responsible for the development of sexual characteristics, estrogens, as well as progesterone, androgens and relaxin.


Fallopian tubes – where egg cell meets the sperm


The fallopian tubes are in the form of tubes with a length of 10 to 12 cm. Their ends attach to the uterus on one side, and the ovaries surround the jagged outlet on the other. The task of the fallopian tubes is to transport the egg from the ovary directly to the uterus. During this journey, the egg can connect to the sperm encountered along the way. This is when conception occurs.


Uterus – place, where the child’s developing


The uterus is one of the key elements of the female reproductive system. Its shape resembles a flattened pear. This organ consists of three elements – the bottom, neck and shaft. The inside of the uterine cavity lines the mucosa. Its structure changes under the influence of hormones and depends on the phase of the menstrual cycle. When fertilization occurs, an embryo nests in the uterus, which will grow in it for the next 9 months. How is it possible? The walls of the uterus are equipped with a thick layer of smooth muscles, thanks to which it can stretch freely, making room for an ever larger child.


Vagina – a place where the semen get to the birth canal


The vagina is a flexible, muscular duct located between the bladder and the anus. It connects to the uterus and is about 8 cm long. It performs key functions in the woman’s body. It is through the vagina that during sexual intercourse, the semen enters the uterus. It is also an outlet for menstrual blood and … for a child who gets out through her during delivery.


Clitoris – the one which gives you the pleasure during sexual interecourse…


Did you know that the clitoris is actually the equivalent of a male penis? As the main center of sexual arousal, it also plays a huge role during female orgasm. The clitoris lies below the pubic mound, between the anterior ends of the large labia. It consists of two cavernous bodies, which are an extension of two legs attached to the ischial bones. Together they form the core of the clitoris, at the end of which is a strongly innervated acorn.


Labia majora and labia minora – every woman has different

The labia surround the urethral opening and vagina, forming the vulva. The skin covering the larger labia is equipped with sweat and sebaceous glands. However, between the labia majora are smaller labia.
It is worth adding that there is no one correct pattern for labia. They can have different shapes and sizes, be symmetrical or deformed. As long as it does not cause discomfort and health problems, everything is fine. The problem arises when a woman feels some discomfort due to her “atypical” labia or when it has a negative impact on the quality of her sex life. Then it is worth considering, for example, labioplasty, which is a labia plastic surgery.


The functions of female reproductive system


It is simply impossible to conceive a new life without the participation of a man. Therefore, nature has provided him with all the means that are to enable a woman to become pregnant. The main task of the male reproductive system is to create sperm and get them into the female genital tract, which usually occurs during sexual intercourse. The male reproductive system, like female one, consists of internal and external genitalia. The internal ones include testicles and epididymis, vas deferens, prostate and seminal vesicles. External genitalia include penis and scrotum. What is worth knowing about each of these?


Testicles – they produce sperm and testosterone


The testicle is an even genital organ located in the scrotum and supported by spermatic cord. This organ is responsible for the production of male germ cells, i.e. sperm and sex hormones, primarily testosterone.


Epidedymis – where the sperm maturate


The epididymis has an elongated shape and is attached to the surface of the testicle with two ligaments. It consists of tubules that are designed to drain the collected semen from the testicle. In addition, the spermatozoa pass through the epididymis, mature and become more mobile.


Vas deferens – they transport the semen


The vas deferens are even ducts about 35-50 cm long. The vas deferens transports semen during ejaculation (from the epididymal duct to the prostatic urethra) straight into the female reproductive organs.


Prostate – produces fluid, which makes sperm move faster


The prostate is a single gland below the bladder. In terms of size, it can be compared to chestnut. The prostate produces an acidic fluid that is part of the ejaculate (15-30% of male sperm). This fluid makes the sperm more mobile and the semen has its own characteristic odor.


Penis – with its help the semen gets to the birth canal


Urine is also output through the same route. The penis consists of even cavernous bodies and an odd spongy body. During sexual arousal, these bodies fill with blood, causing the erection necessary for intercourse. The penis ends with an acorn, which is covered by the foreskin, i.e. a thin, foldable skin fold.


Scrotum – protects the testicles


The scrotum is a skin-muscular sac that is supposed to provide the testicles with the right temperature. Sperm production most efficiently occurs at a temperature 2.5-4 degrees lower than body temperature.

How the anatomy of male and female reproductive organs affects the fertility?
The proper structure of the reproductive organs is the basis of both male and female fertility. It is thanks to the properly functioning ovaries, uterus and vagina that a woman can become pregnant  and give birth to a healthy child. In the case of men, the proper structure of the reproductive organs allows sexual intercourse, and thus ejaculation into the partner’s genital tract. Any abnormalities in the female or male reproductive organs can make it difficult for partners to conceive a child.


Septate, unicornuate and bicornuate uterus – female reproductive organs’ pathologies?


Septate, unicornuate and bicornuate uterus are just some of the known pathologies within the female reproductive organs. We speak of a congenital uterus when a piece of tissue partially or completely divides the uterus into two parts. The septum of the uterus is removed by hysteroscopy, often combining it with gynecological laparoscopy.


Unicornuate uterus arises as a result of inhibiting the development of one of the Müller ducts. Women with unicornuate uterus often have only one ovary. This rare developmental abnormality can cause menstrual disorders and pregnancy problems. Unicornuate uterus can be diagnosed by hysterosalpingographic (Sono-HSG) or hysteroscopy. The bicornuate uterus, arises as a result of incomplete fusion of Müller ducts.


Male reproductive organs’ pathologies and their affect on fertility


40% of fertility disorders are caused by the male factor. The cause of problems with conceiving a child often turns out to be developmental anomalies of the male reproductive organs. Cryptorchidism can be such a disadvantage.


Testicles should descend into the scrotum before the boy is born. Sometimes, however, this does not happen and they remain in the abdomen or in the inguinal canal. As we have already mentioned, in order for testicles to produce good quality sperm, they need a temperature slightly lower than body temperature. That is why the testicles should descend into the scrotum – so that they can cool down in it. If they remain in the abdominal cavity, for example, they will overheat, which can lead to impaired fertility. Bringing the testicle into the scrotum requires surgery.

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