First, what is a gland? A gland is a group of cells that produces and secretes, or gives off, chemicals according to KidsHealth.org. A gland selects and removes materials from the blood, processes them, and secretes the finished chemical product for use somewhere in the body.
One of the areas in the human body where you find glands, including reproductive glands, is the endocrine system. The foundations of the endocrine system are glands and hormones, wrote KidsHealth.org.
The human endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, sexual function and reproductive processes.
Reproductive glands aren’t the only glands found in the endocrine system, said KidsHealth.org. The other major glands that make up the endocrine system include the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid, parathyroids, adrenal glands and the pineal body.
The reproductive glands are the main producer of sex hormones. And the work these glands perform happens in the gonads. KidsHealth.org said that most people don't realize that both males and females have gonads.
The male gonads are typically called the testes. The Cleveland Clinic reported the testes are oval organs about the size of large olives that lie in the scrotum, secured at either end by a structure called the spermatic cord. Most men have two testes.
The testes secrete the male hormones called androgens, the most important of which is testosterone, wrote eMedicine.com. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. These hormones affect many male characteristics. Examples include sexual development, growth of facial hair and pubic hair, as well as sperm production.
The female gonad, said MedicineNet.com, is the ovary. The ovary is one of a pair of reproductive glands in women. Each ovary is roughly the shape and size of an almond.
Medical University of South Caroline stated a woman's ovaries are located on both sides of the uterus, below the opening of the fallopian tubes. These are the tubes that extend from the uterus to the ovaries.
Ovaries produce eggs and secrete the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, said KidsHealth.org.