Both the male and female body have gonads, which are considered to be the primary sex organs. In the male body, the testes are the gonads, and the female body’s gonads are commonly referred to as the ovaries.

The gonads are able to produce both hormones and cells, which qualifies them as mixed glands.


The testes are the male primary sex organs and the interstitial cells that they house are able to produce the male sex hormone known as testosterone. Testosterone is vital in the development and control of the secondary sexual organs. Testosterone is also a determining factor in functions such as sexual desire and secondary male sexual characteristics and development.


Image: Gonads

The Ovaries

While the ovaries have additional functional purposes outside the endocrine system, as they relate to the endocrine functions, ovaries are responsible for the administering of the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone.

The ovarian follicles, or graafian, are responsible for the development of the estrogen, a responsibility shared by the corpus luteum of the ovaries. Estrogen production can also be determined in the placenta, adrenal cortex, and the testes of the male body.


The various estrogens that are produced affect sexual desire, development of female secondary sex organs, development and functions relating to sex organs and characteristics, and regulation of changes within the uterus.

The corpus luteum is responsible for the administering of progesterone, which in effect is only of significant value just before and during pregnancy. Progesterone helps to prepare the uterus for the acceptance of a fertilized egg and continues to protect the developing egg from spontaneous abortion.
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