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Biology LibreTexts

22: Reproductive System

  • Page ID
    17752
  • This chapter outlines the structures and functions of the male and female reproductive systems, explains how fertilization occurs, and discusses the role of the menstrual cycle in female reproduction. The chapter also describes causes of, and treatments for, male and female reproductive system disorders and infertility. In addition, it discusses types of contraception and their effectiveness.

    • 22.1: Case Study: Making Babies
      Alicia, 28, and Victor, 30, have been married for three years. A year ago, they decided they wanted to have a baby, and they stopped using birth control. At first, they did not pay attention to the timing of their sexual activity in relation to Alicia's menstrual cycle, but after six months passed without Alicia becoming pregnant, they decided to try to maximize their efforts.
    • 22.2: Introduction to the Reproductive System
      The reproductive system is the human organ system responsible for the production and fertilization of gametes (sperm or eggs) and, in females, the carrying of a fetus. Both male and female reproductive systems have organs called gonads that produce gametes. Besides producing gametes, the gonads also produce sex hormones.
    • 22.3: Structures of the Male Reproductive System
      The two testes are sperm- and testosterone-producing male gonads. They are contained within the scrotum, a pouch that hangs down behind the penis. The testes are filled with hundreds of tiny, tightly coiled seminiferous tubules, where sperm are produced.
    • 22.4: Functions of the Male Reproductive System
      A mature sperm cell has several structures that help it reach and penetrate an egg.
    • 22.5: Disorders of the Male Reproductive System
      Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a disorder characterized by the regular and repeated inability of a sexually mature male to obtain and maintain an erection. ED occurs when normal blood flow to the penis is disturbed, or when there are problems with the nervous control of penile arousal.
    • 22.6: Structures of the Female Reproductive System
      The female reproductive system is made up of internal and external organs that function to produce haploid female gametes called eggs (or oocytes), secrete female sex hormones (such as estrogen), and carry and give birth to a fetus.
    • 22.7: Menstrual Cycle
      The menstrual cycle refers to natural changes that occur in the ovaries and uterus each month during the reproductive years of a female.
    • 22.8: Functions of the Female Reproductive System
      At birth, a female's ovaries contain all the eggs she will ever produce, which may include a million or more eggs. The eggs don't start to mature, however, until she enters puberty and attains sexual maturity. After that, one egg typically matures each month and is released from an ovary, until she reaches menopause.
    • 22.9: Disorders of the Female Reproductive System
      Cervical cancer is one of three disorders of the female reproductive system described in detail in this concept.
    • 22.10: Infertility
      Infertility is the inability of a sexually mature adult to reproduce by natural means and is generally defined as the failure to achieve a successful pregnancy after at least one year of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse.
    • 22.11: Contraception
      Contraception, also known as birth control, is any method or device used to prevent pregnancy. Birth control methods have been used for centuries, but safe and effective methods only became available in the 20th century.
    • 22.12: Case Study Conclusion: Trying to Conceive and Chapter Summary
      In the beginning of the chapter, you learned that Alicia and Victor have been actively trying to get pregnant for a year, which, as you now know, is the time-frame necessary for infertility to be diagnosed.