Reproduction is a complex process where male and female gametes fuse to form a zygote, once fertilization has taken place the embryo develops in the female’s uterus for a period of nine months before birthing occurs. Male and female reproductive systems differ significantly.
The male reproductive system produces sperm in the testes, then during copulation the penis ejects the male gametes into the female reproductive system for fertilization. The testes produce male sex hormone, namely testosterone which is key in the development of male sex organs during puberty such as the penis, testes and prostrate. Testosterone also promotes secondary sexual characteristics in males which give rise to broadening of chest, developing muscle and bone mass as well as growth of body hair.
The female reproductive system produces female gametes called the ova which are stored in the ovaries. Fusion or fertilization of the male and female gametes occurs in the fallopian tubes, which after the zygote travels down to the uterus and implants itself into the endometrium or uterus lining. If implantation fails, the endometrium is shed and built up again in a process called the menstrual cycle. The 28 day length process has two major cycles, first the ovarian cycle is divided into the follicular phase, ovulation and luteal whilst the uterine cycle is divided into the menstruation, proliferative phase and secretory phase. The female reproductive system uses a multitude of sex hormones to regulate puberty and menstrual cycle: estrogen, progesterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These hormones also promote secondary sex characteristic in females such as breast growth, widening of the hips and development of more fat tissues around the hips.
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