The onset of puberty varies from individual to individual. In boys it generally occurs between the ages of 12 and 16. It is the period during which the process of sexual maturation occurs. Puberty involves not only physical and biological changes but also psychological and emotional ones. The development of secondary sexual characters also begins during this phase. Fertility period in men is longer than that in women.
The male genitals consist of penis, scrotum and a pair of testes. The internal organs that are a part of the male reproductive system include vas deferens, epididymis, and seminiferous tubule. Production of sperm starts at puberty. The sperm is produced in the testes at the rate of about 125 million every day, and is responsible for fertility in men. The testes are suspended outside the body in the scrotum, to provide cooler temperature suitable for sperm production. Sperm travels from the testes to the epididymis (a long coiled tube behind each testis) where they mature. They further travel up to the ejaculatory ducts via vas deferens. As the sperm leaves vas deferens the seminal vesicle glands and the prostate gland both provide fluid to carry those sperms and keep them healthy.
During intercourse there are muscular contractions at the base of the penis. Due to these the sperm is delivered into the female reproductive system by the penis, thus enabling reproduction. Any problems or factors that affect the male reproductive organs or hinder the above mentioned process cause reproductive problems in males. Apart from these reproductive problems may also occur due to disorders of the prostate glands.
Reproductive problems in males can also be a result of hormonal disorders. Testosterone is the the most important sex hormone that influences sperm production, sex drive and fertility. It also causes development of secondary sexual characteristics at the time of puberty. Factors like a long term illness, tumours, inherited ailments or other lifestyle factors can cause over production or underproduction of these hormones thus causing reproductive problems in males; they can also lead to infertility.
Some reproductive problems in males are:
- Cancer of the testis
- Disorders of the prostate glands