Seminal Vesicles - Its Role and Functions

Seminal Vesicles - Its Role and Functions

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 11 Jun 2014 - 16:38.

Only men have seminal vesicles. They are two sacs lying next to the ampule (the enlarged versions of the spermatic cords) just behind the urinary bladder and very near to the top of the prostate gland.

Though the seminal vesicles are primarily believed to serve the purpose of storage space for the accumulated sperm their main function is to provide a fluid which in combination with the juices secreted by the prostate gland, activates movements of the sperm cells after ejaculation.

On an average one teaspoon ful of semen is discharged per each ejaculation. The semen is composed of sperm cells and secretions from the epididymis, the fluids from seminal vesicles, the prostate gland and the nearby bulbourethral glands commonly known as Cowper’s glands. The quantity of the semen reduces if there are successive ejaculations during repeat sexual acts the same day.

None of the fluids secreted by these glands including the seminal vesicles contain any harmful substances. People who swallow semen whether by accident or on purpose have no reason to worry about any ill effects except when the semen so swallowed carries bacteria or viruses due to a sexually transmitted disease present in the male partner.

Semen is usually thick and sticky and greyish white in color. Sometimes the semen can be very thin and watery. The exact quantity, consistency and composition of semen depend on the frequency of ejaculations.

The two seminal vesicles, which resemble sac-like pouches that attach to the spermatic cords near the base of the bladder, produce a sugar-rich liquid (FRUCTOSE) that provides the sperm with a source of energy to help them move.The fluid from the seminal vesicles makes up most of the volume of a man's ejaculatory fluid, otherwise termed as an ejaculate.

Sometimes the seminal fluid is very thick in which case the sperm finds it difficult to move through it and therefore encounters difficulty in finding its way to the woman's reproductive tract.In cases where there is difficulty for the sperm to travel all the way to the female reproductive tract, the semen can be collected in a container, and processed for the separation of the sperms from dead sperms and the seminal fluid.

The sperm so processed is usually placed directly inside the uterus with a small tube called a catheter. This procedure is often followed in cases of infertility is called Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

There are instances when the problem lies with the female partner though everything is normal with the male partner like quantity, composition and consistency of the semen ejaculated when the female has blocked tubes and the egg cannot be released for the sperm to fertilize it. In such cases doctors perform a procedure called In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) .

The procedure involves specialized measures to collect the female egg and fertilize it in a test tube with the sperm of the male partner and implant it in the uterus for the pregnancy to be completed. In majority of cases usually twins are born through IVF procedure.

Like in all other organs the seminal vesicles are prone to infection with bacteria and viruses. They are also prone to sexually transmitted diseases. In some cases they may encounter a block in the ejaculatory ducts which open into the prostatic part of the urethra. In such cases, semen cannot be ejaculated during sexual climax due to the block. However, the other seminal vesicle takes over the function unless both of them have blocks due to some reason or other.

For any problems either in the process of ejaculation, the quantity and morphology of the sperm or the seminal fluid, the male partner needs to undergo a thorough evaluation, if possible by a qualified andrologist.

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.