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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: March 2021

Chapter 3 - Physiology of the Male Reproductive System

from Section 1 - Physiology of Reproduction


The male reproductive system consists of organs that function to produce, transfer, and introduce mature sperm cells into the female reproductive tract, where fertilization can occur (Figure 3.1). The initial development of the male reproductive organs begins before birth when the reproductive tract differentiates into the male form. Several months before birth, the immature testes descend behind the parietal peritoneum into the scrotum, guided by the fibrous gubernaculum. The testes and other reproductive organs remain in an immature form. They remain incapable of providing reproductive function until puberty when levels of reproductive hormones stimulate the final stages of their development (Figure 3.2). Prepubertal boys have no spermatogenesis; however, spermatogonia preserve in their testicles. Sexual maturity and ability to reproduce are reached at puberty. A gradual decline in hormone production and testicular cell count during adulthood may decrease sexual desire and fertility.

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