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Chapter: Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology: Reproductive System

Functions of the Reproductive System

list the functions of the male and female reproductive systems.



The human species could not survive without functional male and female reproductive systems. The reproductive systems play essential roles in the development of the structural and functional differences between males and females, influence human behavior, and produce offspring. However, a reproductive system, unlike other organ systems, is not necessary for the survival of an individual human.


 Most of the body’s organ systems show little difference between males and females, but the male and female reproductive systems exhibit striking differences. On the other hand, they have a number of similarities. For example, many reproductive organs of males and females are derived from the same embryological structures , and some hormones are the same in males and females, even though they produce different responses. The reproductive system performs the following functions:


1.         Production of gametes. The reproductive system producesgametes: sperm cells in the testes of males and oocytes (eggs) in the ovaries of females.


2.         Fertilization. The reproductive system enhances fertilizationof the oocyte by the sperm. The duct system in malesnourishes sperm until they are mature and are deposited in the female reproductive tract by the penis. The female reproductive system receives the male’s sperm and transports them to the fertilization site.


3.         Development and nourishment of a new individual. Thefemale reproductive system nurtures the development of a new individual in the uterus until birth and provides nourishment (milk) after birth.


4.         Production of reproductive hormones. Hormones producedby the reproductive system control its development and the development of the gender-specific body form. These hormones are also essential for the normal function ofthe reproductive system and for reproductive behavior.


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