Humans are sexually reproducing and viviparous.
The male reproductive system is composed of a pair of testes, the male sex accessory ducts and the accessory glands and external genitalia. Each testis has about 250 compartments called testicular lobules, and each lobule contains one to three highly coiled seminiferous tubules. Each seminiferous tubule is lined inside by spermatogonia and Sertoli cells. The spermatogonia undergo meiotic divisions leading to sperm formation, while Sertoli cells provide nutrition to the dividing germ cells. The Leydig cells outside the seminiferous tubules, synthesise and secrete testicular hormones called androgens. The male external genitalia is called penis.
The female reproductive system consists of a pair of ovaries, a pair of oviducts, a uterus, a vagina, external genitalia, and a pair of mammary glands. The ovaries produce the female gamete called ovum and some steroid hormones (ovarian hormones). Ovarian follicles in different stages of development are embedded in the stroma. The oviducts, uterus and vagina are female accessory ducts. The uterus has three layers namely perimetrium, myometrium and endometrium. The female external genitalia include mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, hymen and clitoris. The mammary glands are one of the female secondary sexual characteristics.
Spermatogenesis results in the formation of sperms that are transported by the male sex accessory ducts. A normal human sperm is composed of a head, neck, a middle piece and tail.
The process of formation of mature female gametes is called oogenesis. The reproductive cycle of female primates is called menstrual cycle. Menstrual cycle starts only after attaining sexual maturation (puberty). During ovulation only one ovum is released per menstrual cycle. The cyclical changes in the ovary and the uterus during menstrual cycle are induced by changes in the levels of pituitary and ovarian hormones.
After coitus, sperms are transported to the junction of the isthmus and ampulla, where the sperm fertilises the ovum leading to formation of a diploid zygote. The presence of X or Y chromosome in the sperm determines the sex of the embryo. The zygote undergoes repeated mitotic division to form a blastocyst, which is implanted in the uterus resulting in pregnancy. After nine months of pregnancy, the fully developed foetus is ready for delivery. The process of childbirth is called parturition which is induced by a complex neuroendocrine mechanism involving cortisol, estrogens and oxytocin. Mammary glands differentiate during pregnancy and secrete milk after child-birth. During the initial few months of growth, the new-born baby is fed milk by the mother and this process is called lactation.
List of Topics
|The Male Reproductive System||The Male Reproductive System|
|The Female Reproductive System||The Female Reproductive System|
|Menstrual Cycle||Menstrual Cycle|
|Fertilization and Implantation||Fertilization and Implantation|
|Pregnancy and Embryonic Development||Pregnancy and Embryonic Development|
|Parturition and Lactation||Parturition and Lactation|