Although structures of the female and male reproductive systems differ, both have a common purpose. They are specialized to produce and unite gametes (reproductive cells) and transport them to sites of fertilization. Reproductive systems of both sexes are designed specifically to perpetuate the species and pass genetic material from generation to generation.
In addition, both sexes produce hormones, which are vital in development and maintenance of sexual characteristics and regulation of reproductive physiology. In women, the reproductive system includes the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina, clitoris, and vulva. (See Figure Female reproductive system.) In men, the reproductive system includes the testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, ejaculatory duct, prostate, and penis.
Female reproductive system. (A) Anterior view. (B) Lateral view.
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