Books about reproductive health, Fertility Awareness, and Natural Family Planning

More about Katie Singer

Garden of Fertility Book CoverHonoring Our CyclesIn her books, The Garden of Fertility (2004) and Honoring Our Cycles (2006), Katie Singerintroduces Fertility Awareness (also called Natural Family Planning).With these methods, a woman who charts her temperature and cervical mucus can know when she is fertile and infertile. A woman who charts her fertility signs can also know whether she is ovulating or miscarrying. You can learn remedies for problems like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and fertility.

R E P R O D U C T I V E   A N A T O M Y
M a l e

A male human’s reproductive system turns on at puberty, and stays on until he dies. The pituitary gland sends a message to the testicles (which are protected inside the sacs called the scrotum) to begin producing testosterone and sperm. Beginning at puberty, a healthy man produces one thousand sperm per second twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. (As my grandmother would have said, this explains a lot of things.)

During the winter, a man likely produces more sperm, because humans prefer a cooler temperature when maturing eggs. It therefore follows that a man who bikes in tight shorts to the hot tub every day throughout the summer after work baking pizza might find himself with a low sperm count!

With age, a man’s sperm production and ability to have an erection will likely decrease. Also, because of environmental toxins, sperm counts are now decreasing at an alarming rate of 2% per year in men of all ages. But essentially, beginning at puberty, men are fertile all the time.

Once they’re produced, sperm go through a maturation process in the epidydimus, which is also held in the scrotum. The maturation process takes about two months. Just before orgasm, sperm move from the testicles through the vas deferens (tubes analogous to the fallopian tubes)—and collect fluid from the prostate gland, the cowper’s gland, and the seminal vesicle; the fluid from these glands mixes with the sperm to create semen, which is then ejaculated through the urethra.

The chemical content of semen is similar to cervical fluid. In a healthy man, each ejaculation contains between 250 and 350 million sperm. Generally, it takes 36 hours to replenish a man’s sperm count.

Male Anatomy

If a man has a vasectomy, the vas deferens are cut to prevent sperm from being ejaculated. (They’re still produced and matured after a vasectomy; but they’re prevented from being released.) If a man’s had a vasectomy, you can’t tell by the amount of his ejaculate: even 350 million sperm are barely discernable to the naked eye.

Sperm are measured by their numbers, their ability to swim, and their shape. If a man has a low sperm count, he should have it tested again a few weeks later, because sperm counts can fluctuate significantly in a short period of time.

It’s also important to note that the pre-ejaculate can contain enough sperm to cause a pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection.


1. The testicles are analagous to what in a woman?

2. Cervical fluid is similar to what in a man?

3. The vas deferens are like what in a woman?

4. The scrotum is similar to a woman’s what?

5. The penis is analogous to what in a woman?


1. the ovaries 2. semen 3. the fallopian tubes 4. the vulva or labia 5. the clitoris