Reproductive medicine diagram, a chart that illustrates the differences between the male and female reproductive organs, has been around for decades, but it is unclear why the female reproductive tract is sometimes labeled as the male one, and vice versa.
Now, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that this inconsistency may have something to do with how the body works.
The researchers compared the anatomy of the male reproductive tract and the female urinary tract to see how the two structures might relate to the two organs’ ability to release eggs.
“We were surprised to find that this diagram did not correspond to the observed anatomical differences between males and females,” said lead researcher Annette Böttner, a physician and reproductive medicine specialist at the University of Bonn.
“The anatomy of male and non-males reproductive tracts, when compared with the anatomy observed in humans, appears to be different.”
This finding is a good example of how anatomy, physiology, and physiology don’t always follow the same rules when it comes to gender.
“Physiology is not like biology,” said study author Dr. Eva Wiedemann, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
“A female’s reproductive tract has an organ called ovary and a male’s reproductive tracts have an organ known as corpus luteum, which is the place where the sperm are fertilized.”
When the researchers analyzed the diagrams of the reproductive tract of men and women, they found that, compared to the female, the male urinary tract had an ovary on the right side, while the female’s urinary tract was on the left side.
“As soon as you start to look at the anatomy, it’s really interesting that this anatomy doesn’t correspond to biology, but the anatomy is,” Börtner said.
“It is interesting because we know from our understanding of embryology that a male is a different animal than a female, so we assume that the ovary is on the male side, and the corpus lube is on a female side.”
However, Wiedimann says this is not the case.
“That is an entirely different anatomy,” she said.
Wiedemyann explained that the female organs are different in that they do not contain a specialized gland, called the ovaries, but rather, they are a large, flat structure with a long shaft and a single, small organ called the corpus.
This organ is responsible for producing eggs, and it is the part that is seen on the outside of the female genitalia.
When the two tissues are placed side by side, they become indistinguishable.
The only difference is that the corpus is more prominent on the female side.
The diagram above, by contrast, shows that the right part of the diagram corresponds to the ovarian gland on the ovular shaft and the left part to the corpus on the corpus, but Wiedeminann said this is just a byproduct of how the female body is arranged.
“When we put the female on the other side of the corpus and put the ovarius on the opposite side, we still have the ovaria and corpus on one side, but we have a different shape,” Wiedremann said.
And in this case, it looks like the male organ is missing.
Böntner, Wiesemann and their colleagues were able to identify the location of the ovulatory ducts on both sides of the corpora lube, and they found the two different structures were distinct.
The authors found that the ducts that lie on the vulva of a female were not found in the female urethra, but on the pelvic floor.
This suggests that the male genitalia is the only organ that contains ovaries.
But how does this relate to reproduction?
Bötner says that, while they are still working on the mechanism by which the male organs produce sperm, the findings do suggest that a female reproductive organ may be capable of producing sperm from the sperm of the sperm that it has been infected with.
Börntner said this finding was not surprising, because she believes that most sperm cells in the male body are made of ova, a type of tissue that is produced from the female egg.
“What is surprising is that it seems that the sperm-making organs of the testes of males are also made of this ova-producing tissue,” Börndner said, adding that the results support the idea that the body has evolved to make sperm from other male-produced cells.
The finding also raises the possibility that an infectious agent could interfere with the fertilization process, by making the ova fertilize the sperm instead of the egg.
This idea, however, is still not confirmed, Böttenner said; she is unsure how often an infectious infection would be present in the genitalia of a fertilized egg.
As the authors explain in their paper,