Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

The male reproductive system is responsible for reproduction.

The male reproductive system is responsible for reproduction.
beginning of content

Male reproductive system

2-minute read

The male reproductive system contains the external genitals (the penis, testes and the scrotum) and internal parts, including the prostate gland, vas deferens and urethra. A man's fertility and sexual traits depend on the normal functioning of the male reproductive system, as well as hormones released from the brain.

Organs and functions

The male reproductive system is responsible for reproduction. It is made of the following parts:

  • Penis – this has spongy tissue which can fill with blood to cause an erection. It contains the urethra, which carries both urine and semen. It is used for urinating and sexual intercourse.
  • Scrotum – this is a loose bag of skin that hangs outside the body, behind the penis. It holds the testes in place.
  • Testes (or testicles) – these are a pair of egg-shaped glands that sit in the scrotum, on the outside of the body. They produce sperm and testosterone, which is the male sex hormone.
  • Epididymis – this is a highly coiled tube that lies at the back of the testes. All sperm from the testes must pass through the epididymis, where they mature and start to ‘swim’.
  • Vas deferens – this is a thick-walled tube joined to the epididymis. It carries sperm from the epididymis up to the prostate gland and urethra.
  • Prostate gland – this is a walnut-shaped gland that sits in the middle of the pelvis. The urethra runs through the middle of it. It produces the fluid secretions that support and nourish the sperm.
  • Urethra – this is a tube which extends from the bladder to the external opening at the end of the penis. The urethra carries both urine and sperm.

The brain also has an important role in reproductive function, as it controls the release of sex hormones.

What can go wrong?

As with any other part of the human body, things can sometimes go wrong with the male reproductive system, including:

If you notice any symptoms or problems, it’s important to see your doctor quickly. Early treatment can avoid serious long-term problems.

Last reviewed: May 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Male reproductive system | Andrology Australia

Male reproductive system What is the male reproductive system? Penis Urethra Scrotum Testes Epididymis Vas deferens Ejaculatory duct Seminal vesicles Prostate Cowpers glands Bladder Rectum Sperm Semen Resources Resources Fact sheet The male body Download PDF SEE ALL RESOURCES

Read more on Healthy Male - Andrology Australia website

Male reproductive system -

View our diagram of the male reproductive organs, including the penis, testicles, prostate, urethra and vas deferens.

Read more on myDr website

Male reproductive system (urogenital system) information | myVMC

The male urogenital or reproductive system includes the prostate, penis, testes, and urethra. It enables sperm production and urination.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Urologist - Better Health Channel

A urologist is a medical professional who specialises in diagnosing and treating diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

What is a urologist? Introduction and information about urologists | myVMC

Urologists are specialists who treat people for problems and diseases of the urinary tract and male reproductive system. They treat men, women and children.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Male anatomy: Reproductive system (testicle anatomy) | myVMC

The testes (testicles or gonads) are the primary male reproductive organs. They produce gametes (sperm) and secrete hormones, particularly testosterone.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Male and female reproductive

Find health conditions articles related to the male and female reproductive systems.

Read more on WA Health website

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) and cancer

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic female hormone previously commonly prescribed to prevent miscarriages. Exposure to DES is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer, birth defects and anatomical changes in male and female reproductive systems.

Read more on WA Health website

Erectile Dysfunction | myVMC

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to develop or maintain an erection rigid enough to allow penetration of the vagina, and therefore functional sexual intercourse.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the prostate grow in an uncontrolled way.

Read more on Cancer Australia website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo