The reproductive systems

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead

Learn about the different parts of the male and female reproductive systems, including the proper terminology for reproductive organs and genitals.

Key points

  • The male and female reproductive systems are responsible for producing eggs, sperm and reproducing (having children).
  • The male reproductive system includes the testes, scrotum, penis, prostate gland, seminal vesicles and vas deferens.
  • The female reproductive system includes the ovaries, vagina, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and vulva.

What do the reproductive systems do?

The male and female reproductive systems produce eggs and sperm and are responsible for reproducing (having children). Learning the proper terminology for your reproductive organs can help you have better conversations with your health-care provider which will help you get the diagnosis and treatment you need, if you need it.

The male reproductive system

Male reproductive systemMale reproductive organs showing the ureter, prostate gland, bladder, scrotum, testicle, urethra, vas deferens and seminal vesicles

In male-bodied people, the reproductive organs and genitals include:

  • Testes, also called testicles: a pair of oval-shaped glands that produce sperm
  • Scrotum: the pouch of skin that contains the testes
  • Penis: the male reproductive organ, through which urine and semen pass
  • Prostate gland: a gland that produces some of the fluid part of semen
  • Seminal vesicles: a pair of glands that also produce some of the fluid part of semen
  • Vas deferens: a pair of tubes leading from the testes to the seminal vesicle, through which the sperm travel

The female reproductive system

Female reproductive systemFemale reproductive organs showing the uterus, uterine lining, vagina, ovary and fallopian tubes

In female-bodied people, the reproductive organs and genitals include:

  • Ovaries: two organs on either side of the lower abdomen that produce female hormones and release an egg cell once a month
  • Vagina: a muscular tube from the outside of the body (the vulva) to the opening to the uterus (the cervix). During penetrative sex a penis goes here. Sperm travel through the vagina on their way to fertilize the egg, and a baby passes through the vagina during childbirth
  • Fallopian tubes: a pair of tubes connecting the ovaries to the uterus, through which an egg cell travels from the ovaries to the uterus, and where fertilization of an egg with sperm usually occurs
  • Uterus: an organ, also called the womb, where the fertilized egg cell implants and grows into the unborn baby during pregnancy
  • Endometrium: the lining of the uterus. The thickness of the lining can change throughout your monthly menstrual cycle and throughout your life.
  • Cervix: the cervix is the opening to the uterus
  • Vulva: the outer folds of tissue that surround the opening of the vagina and the opening from the bladder (called the urethra). It consists of both the labia majora and minora
Last updated: October 19th 2021