This animation highlights from a mid-sagittal view the structures of the male reproductive system and the pathway of ejaculate. A testicle is sectioned and enlarged to depict its internal anatomy, including a microscopic view of individual sperm.
The key male reproductive organs include the testes, epididymis, urethra, vas deferens, prostate gland, seminal vesicle, and penis.
The testes are composed of coiled structures called seminiferous tubules, which are the sites of sperm production. The structure on top of the seminiferous tubules in the testes is the epididymis. The sperm migrate from of the seminiferous tubules to the epididymis. Within the epididymis, the sperm mature while they are stored in this structure.
The ejaculation process begins as the penis fills with blood and becomes erect. With sufficient stimulation, mature sperm travel from the epididymis through the vas deferens, a muscular tube, which propels sperm forward through smooth muscle contractions. The sperm arrive first at the ampulla, where secretions from the seminal vesicle are added.
From the ampulla, seminal fluid is propelled forward through the ejaculatory ducts toward the urethra, passing first by the prostate gland, where a milky fluid is added to form semen. Finally, the semen is ejaculated through the far end of the urethra.
Reviewed last on: 9/16/2008
Dan Sacks MD, FACOG, Obstetrics & Gynecology in Private Practice, West Palm Beach, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.