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How does the male reproductive system work?

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Quick Answer

The male reproductive system works by creating, storing and transporting sperm, the male gametic cell, explains WebMD. Its anatomy is specifically attuned for these various functions, explaining the need for the testicles, the site of sperm production, and the penis, whose shape is crucial to insemination.

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Full Answer

Would-be sperm cells first undergo spermatogenesis in the seminiferous tubules of the testicles, notes WebMD. These coiled tubes, housed by a loose sac of skin called the scrotum, are kept at a temperate below the rest of the body to aid in sperm production, according to Jesse Bering for Scientific American.

From there, the unprocessed sperm cells move through the long epididymis, which is coiled at the back of the testicles, states WebMD. The sperm cells reach maturity and gain the ability to fertilize eggs. Next, sperm cells pass through the vas deferens, a muscular tube that connects to the urethra, which ultimately leads to the exterior of the body by moving through the center of the penis. In addition, certain structures in the male reproductive system empty their contents into the vas deferens so they may be mixed in with sperm to create semen. These include the seminal vesicles, which release fructose to provide the sperm cells with energy; the bulbourethral glands, which add lubricant; and the prostate gland, which also helps nourish the sperm cells.

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