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27: The Reproductive System
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- 27.0: Prelude to the Reproductive System
- In this chapter, you will explore the male and female reproductive systems, whose healthy functioning can culminate in the powerful sound of a newborn’s first cry.
- 27.1: Anatomy and Physiology of the Male Reproductive System
- The penis is the male organ of copulation. Columns of erectile tissue called the corpora cavernosa and corpus spongiosum fill with blood when sexual arousal activates vasodilatation in the blood vessels of the penis. Testosterone regulates and maintains the sex organs and sex drive, and induces the physical changes of puberty. Interplay between the testes and the endocrine system precisely control the production of testosterone with a negative feedback loop.
- 27.2: Anatomy and Physiology of the Female Reproductive System
- The female reproductive system functions to produce gametes and reproductive hormones, just like the male reproductive system; however, it also has the additional task of supporting the developing fetus and delivering it to the outside world. Unlike its male counterpart, the female reproductive system is located primarily inside the pelvic cavity (Figure 27.2.1). Recall that the ovaries are the female gonads. The gamete they produce is called an oocyte.
- 27.3: Development of the Male and Female Reproductive Systems
- The development of the reproductive systems begins soon after fertilization of the egg, with primordial gonads beginning to develop approximately one month after conception. Reproductive development continues in utero, but there is little change in the reproductive system between infancy and puberty.