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Medicine LibreTexts

23: Reproductive System

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  • Thumbnail Image Credit: Movements at Gestational Age of 9 Weeks by Mikael Häggström is licensed under CC BY 1.0


    This chapter is focused on the anatomy of the reproductive systems. A person with two X chromosomes (XX) will typically have ovaries for gonads and is genotypically classified as female. A person with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome (XY) will typically have testes for gonads and is genotypically classified as male. The differences seen in reproductive anatomy are due entirely to hormones, one of which is coded for on the Y chromosome. Gender genotype and anatomy is not linked to gender identity (phenotype) or sexuality. There is biology involved in both genotype and phenotype and it is a complex topic.

    In this chapter, we will use the phrases "male", "XY", and "an individual with testes" to refer to the anatomy of an individual with testes that may make sperm and we will use the phrases "female", "XX", and "an individual with ovaries" to refer to the anatomy of an individual with ovaries that may make ova (eggs).

    • 23.1: Introduction to the Reproductive System
      In this chapter, you will explore the anatomy of the male and female reproductive systems, whose healthy functioning can culminate in the powerful sound of a newborn’s first cry.
    • 23.2: Anatomy of the Male Reproductive System
      Details on male reproductive organs and hormones, responsible for making sperms and transporting sperms to the egg for fertilization, will be discussed.
    • 23.3: Anatomy of the Female Reproductive System
      The female reproductive system functions to produce eggs and reproductive hormones, just like the male reproductive system; however, it also has the additional task of supporting the developing embryo and fetus and delivering it to the outside world at birth.  Details on the anatomy of the female reproductive system will be covered in this section.
    • 23.4: 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.