MALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM FAQs

  • Male Reproductive System Parts
  • Male factor Infertility
  • Sexual problems
  • Semen Analysis

Male reproductive system consists of the following:

1. External genitalia: Penis is a male organ of copulation. It greatly varies in its length, measuring about 12 to 18 cm during the erectile state.

2. Internal genitalia: These include testis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles and prostate gland.

a. Testis: This is a pair of gonads lying in the scrotum. Each testis measures 5 cm in length, 3 cm in width and 2 cm in breadth and 10 to 15 grams. Testis contains seminiferous tubules where sperms are produced. Male hormones are produced by Leydig cells of testis. On upper pole of testis epididymis sperms mature as they pass from testis to the vas deferens.

b. Vas deferens: These are conducting tubes which carry the sperms from testis upto the neck of urinary bladder (prostatic urethra). It measures 45 cm in length.

c. Seminal vesicles: These are a pair of glands present around the neck of urinary bladder. They secrete necessary nutrients for sperm maturation.

d. Prostate glands: This gland is present around the neck of urinary bladder, secretes prostatic fluid in the semen that is necessary for sperm maturation and adds to the bulk of seminal fluid.

What is male factor infertility? 

It is a condition where the male partner has low sperm count or sperms are non-motile or their motility is poor or they are abnormally shaped. The male may also have problem with delivering sperms in the female genital tract.

Causes of male infertility: Male infertility is caused by

1. Abnormal sperm production and function 

A. Oligozoospermia: sperm count less than normal is called oligozoospermia.

B. Asthenozoospermia: decreased motility of sperms is called Asthenozoospermia.

C. Teratozoospermia: abnormal structure of sperms is called teratozoospermia

D. Azoospermia: absence of sperms in semen is called azoospermia.

Usually the above abnormalities are present in various combinations. These abnormalities are caused by following defects in male reproductive system.

2. Undescended testis: occurs when the testis fails to descend from the abdomen into the scrotum during fetal life. This leads to total absence of sperm production.

3. Varicocele: This consists of dilated and tortuous testicular veins that contain stagnated blood. This leads to impaired sperm production in testes.

4. Hydrocele: This consists of collection of fluid in coverings around the testis. This may lead to impaired sperm production.

5. Infection of testis (orchitis): This can be caused by sexually transmitted diseases, prostatitis, urethritis, etc.

6. Genetic diseases: Chromosomal disorder like Klinefelter’s syndrome having 47xxy karyotype can cause low sperm count or azoospermia.

7. Sperm antibodies: Sperm antibodies can form in individual’s blood that can lead to infertility.

8. Impaired delivery of sperm: Impaired delivery of sperms to the female genital tract can be due to:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Blockage of epididymis or ejaculatory ducts
  • Spinal cord problems
  • Hypospadias
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Severe injury or major surgery involving the male reproductive system.

9. Medical conditions can be associated with infertility such as: Diabetes / Thyroid disorders / Disorders of pituitary gland / Disorders of adrenal glands / Liver or kidney failure / Genetic diseases / HIV/AIDS

10. Risk factors & life style issues:
1. Emotional stress and depression can lead to infertility.

2. Chemotherapy and radiation can severely impair sperm production and reduce their motility.

3. Smoking, alcohol, drugs & anabolic steroids can reduce sperm counts and impair sperm motility.

4.Occupational exposure to excessive heat, pesticides and other chemicals may contribute to male infertility.

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