To create new male contraceptive options, we have to understand the male reproductive system. Human males have reproductive organs (also called genitals) that are both inside and outside the pelvis. Altogether, the male genitals include four parts that comprise the male reproductive system.
These are the four key parts of the male reproductive system:
The male genitals, also called sex organs, work together as a reproductive system to produce and release sperm-containing semen. Sperm in the semen can fertilize an ova or egg to produce a baby (called conception).
Contraception, or birth control, is a method used to prevent conception when a person or couple wants to be sexually active but is not ready to start a family. Female hormonal contraception is based on interruption of the menstrual cycle. Because sperm are produced continuously, there is no similar male reproductive cycle to interrupt.
Historically, methods of male contraception were focused on one part of the male reproductive system, namely, putting a full stop to sperm production. These days, researchers are focusing on affecting sperm function as well as halting sperm production. Examples of functional changes in the male reproductive system include preventing sperm from swimming, and preventing sperm from being able to fertilize an egg.
Learn more about male contraceptive methods in the R&D pipeline today.
Nuts & Bolts: The Male Reproductive System
To learn more about, please visit our series of posts about male reproduction and contraception:
For additional terminology related to male contraception and the male reproductive system, please visit our glossary:
For additional publications related to male contraception and the male reproductive system, please visit our publications page: