Male reproductive organs
The male reproductive system is a term used to collectively refer to the organs that work together to allow for the reproductive function of the male organism. It consists of the spermatic cords and scrotum, testes and epididymes, vasa deferentia, prostate, seminal vesicles, bulbourethral glands (Cowper’s glands) and the penis.
These organs work together to produce sperm (the male gamete) as well as other components of the seminal fluid. The sperm can be delivered out of the male body and into the female vagina, it then travels towards the uterine tubes, where it fertilizes an egg cell to produce offspring.
The components of the male reproductive system are located in the abdomen, pelvis, and perineum. The pair of spermatic cords connect the testes to the abdominal wall cavity. Each contains a collection of vessels, nerves, and ducts that run to and from the testes, supporting their function.
The scrotum is a cutaneous fibromuscular sac that houses the testes and the lower parts of the spermatic cords. It lies inferior to the penis, between the anteromedial aspects of the thighs. The scrotum helps regulate the temperature of the testes.
The testes are the male gonads. They are paired oval-shaped structures that are suspended within the scrotum by the spermatic cords and scrotal tissue. Their prime function is sperm synthesis and testosterone production.
The epididymis is a single long coiled duct that wraps around the superior and posterior edges of each of the testes. It is the site for sperm storage. The sperm synthesized by the testes is transferred to the epididymes to mature.
The vas deferens (ductus deferens) is a muscular tube that carries sperm from the tail of the epididymis in the scrotum to the ejaculatory duct in the pelvic cavity. It has a wider diameter than the epididymis, and serves as a storage site for mature sperm. Its smooth muscled walls move the sperm to the ejaculatory duct via peristaltic movement.
The prostate is the largest accessory structure of the male reproductive system. It borders the inferior end of the urinary bladder and surrounds the urethra. The prostate is a walnut-sized exocrine gland that produces the majority of the fluid that makes up the semen.
The seminal vesicles are a pair of accessory glands present between the bladder and the rectum. They are sacculated contorted tubes that join the vasa deferentia to form the ejaculatory ducts. The seminal vesicles store and produce a portion of the fluid that makes up the semen.
The bulbourethral glands are small pea-shaped masses that are situated within the deep perineal pouch, lateral to the membranous urethra. They contribute to the final volume of seminal fluid by producing a lubricating mucus secretion. The semen is a milky white fluid that contains proteins, enzymes, as well as other chemicals that support and protect the sperm.
The penis is an external organ of the male reproductive system. It consists of an attached root (radix) in the perineum, a free pendulous body (corpus) that’s enveloped by skin, and the glans, which is the most distal portion. The penis is cylindrical in shape, and contains the urethra and its external opening. Its main function is sexual intercourse and micturition.