In males, the main organs of the reproductive system are the epididymis, prostate gland, seminal vesicles, vas deferens, penis, testes and scrotum. In females, the main organs of the reproductive system are the vagina, uterus and its cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, vulva, labia minora, labia majora, clitoris and breasts. Some reproductive organs are located internally and others are located externally.
Male Internal Organs
The internal organs of the male reproductive system are the pituitary and hypothalamus glands in the brain and the epididymis, prostate gland, seminal vesicles and vas deferens in the pelvis. The hypothalamus and pituitary glands secrete hormones that cause the testes to produce testosterone and help sperm develop. The epididymis is a duct that carries sperm from one of the testes to the vas deferens. The seminal vesicles and prostate gland make seminal fluid, which joins the sperm through the vas deferens.
Male External Organs
The external organs of the male reproductive system are the penis, testes and scrotum. The testes produce sperm, which passes through the epididymis, the vas deferens, and the urethra, which is in the penis. The penis contains erectile tissue that becomes engorged with blood during sexual stimulation, allowing for intercourse with the female vagina.
Female Internal Organs
The internal organs of the female reproductive system are the pituitary and hypothalamus glands in the brain, and the vagina, the uterus and its cervix, the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. The hypothalamus and pituitary glands secrete hormones that cause eggs in the ovary to develop and the ovary to release an egg. The ovaries hold the eggs and release one during each menstrual cycle. Eggs travel down the fallopian tubes into the uterus, which is the site of the growth and development of a fertilized egg into an embryo, and then a fetus. The vagina connects to the uterus at the cervix. Sperm enter through the vagina and then through the cervix into the uterus, and can pass into the fallopian tubes.
Female External Organs
The external organs of the female reproductive system are the vulva, labia minora, labia majora, clitoris and breasts. The vulva is the external opening to the female reproductive tract, and includes the labia majora and the labia minora. The clitoris has erectile tissue similar to that in the penis and a high concentration of nerve endings. Stimulation of the clitoris results in sexual pleasure to a woman. The breasts produce and secrete milk, which nourishes the infant after birth and during early childhood.
- Langman's Medical Embryology 12th edition, Thomas W. Sadler PhD
- Anatomy: A Regional Atlas of the Human Body, Carmine D. Clemente.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Reproductive Health Page