Q:

What is the purpose of the reproductive system?

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Quick Answer

Male and female reproductive systems foster egg production and maturation, allowing humans to procreate, according to TeensHealth. Both systems produce gametes, or sex cells; the male gamete is sperm, which fertilizes the female gamete, or ovum. The fertilized ovum becomes a zygote and progresses through several states of physical development while inside a woman's uterus.

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Full Answer

The male reproductive system contains internal and external organs, including the testicles, penis, scrotum, urethra, seminal vesicles and prostate gland. The testicles are located inside the scrotum and produce sperm and testosterone hormones, according to WebMD. Testosterone drives the physical development of the male body during puberty, such as voice changes, enhanced muscle mass and facial hair growth. The epididymis and vas deferens are male ductal organs that carry matured sperm from the testes to the urethra. The prostrate gland releases fluid that mixes with sperm, and when men ejaculate, semen flows through the urethra to the penis and out of the body.

Female reproductive organs are entirely internal and mainly consist of the vagina, ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes, according to TeensHealth. Eggs are nurtured in the ovaries and released into the fallopian tubes during ovulation. Sperm ejaculated into a woman's body may fertilize a matured egg, creating a zygote. The fertilized egg rests in the uterine lining and absorbs nutrients as it grows from an embryo to a human child. When the egg is not fertilized, the body ejects uterine blood and tissue matter during menstruation.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How many eggs are released during ovulation?

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    Ovulation is when an egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube, where it awaits the possibility of fertilization. Normally, one egg is released during a cycle, however, multiple ovulation is possible, and occurs when two or more eggs are released during one cycle.

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  • Q:

    What causes ovarian cysts?

    A:

    The most common type of ovarian cyst, called a functional cyst, is formed during ovulation when either the egg isn't released or the follicle, or sac, doesn't dissolve after the egg is released. Cysts, or fluid-filled sacs that form in the ovaries, are very common in women of child-bearing age, according to WebMD. Other cysts develop from unopened follicles or from cells on the surface of the ovary.

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  • Q:

    How many days does ovulation last?

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    According to American Pregnancy, ovulation itself lasts only one day while an egg is detached from the ovary follicle. However, the entire ovulation cycle is composed of two longer phases called the follicular and luteal phases.

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  • Q:

    What is the lifespan of an unfertilized egg?

    A:

    The lifespan of an unfertilized egg is between 12 to 24 hours after it has left the ovary, as reported by the American Pregnancy Association. A single mature egg is released by the ovary and pushed down the fallopian tube where it is made available to be fertilized by sperm each month. If the egg is unfertilized, it will disintegrate, be absorbed by the uterus lining, which contains all of the nutrients in preparation for the fertilized egg, and will be shed, along with blood, during menstruation.

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