How long does sperm live?

Sperm cells fertilize with the ovum in a woman and a new life is born. This is a fact that most of us know. However, not many of us know about how sperm is formed, how long it lives in the male reproductive system, and how long it survives when it enters a woman’s body. Let’s have a brief look at these facts and learn about the sperm life span.

Sperm life span in the male reproductive system

Sperm cells are produced during a process called spermatogenesis in the two testicles of a man. During this process, the spermatogenic cells present in the seminiferous tubules keep on dividing till they result in the formation of spermatids. These are immature cells which are then passed on to the epididymis for maturation.

It’s in the epididymis that the sperm cells are allowed to mature for approximately two to three weeks. This is where it stays after it is fully mature, waiting to be ejaculated into the female reproductive system during a male orgasm.

Sperm lasts in a male body for around 74 days. If they are not released during an ejaculation within this period, they die and are then reabsorbed in the male body. Various factors will determine the health of the sperm and for how long it is able to survive when it is ejaculated during a male orgasm.

Sperm life span outside the male body

When you ejaculate, the sperm is mixed with various nutrients and fluids, mainly coming from the prostrate gland and the seminal vesicles, and then released out of the penis. Your semen can contain 100-400 million sperms.

When sperm is ejaculated outside the body, for example, during masturbation or when the penis is pulled out of the vagina just before ejaculation, it survives only for a few minutes. People who are relying on the withdrawal method to avoid unwanted pregnancies should make sure that none of the ejaculation gets close to the woman’s vagina. Once the semen dries up, sperm no longer survive and actually do not live for more than 20 to 60 minutes after being exposed to the environment.

How long does sperm survive in a woman’s body

The main aim of sperm is to fertilize an egg and result in conception. For anyone who is trying to conceive, it is important to know exactly how long sperm can survive once it is released into a woman’s reproductive system.

Due to the presence of acidic vaginal secretions, sperm is not able to survive in the vagina of a woman for more than six hours. Sperm cells have a much better chance of survival when they enter the woman’s body through the cervical opening.

The length of time that the sperm are able to survive in a woman’s body depends on various conditions. The health and strength of the mature cell also plays an important role. Factors such as the internal metabolic capacity of the sperm will play a role in how long it is able to survive in the female reproductive system.

Factors such as the quality of the cervical mucus as well as the ability of the sperm to get out of the vagina and enter the uterus and go up to the fallopian tube will also determine the chances of fertilization. The presence of sperm antagonists may reduce the survival rate of the sperm as well.

Considering the fact that sperm is healthy, cervical mucus is ideal for fertility, and the vaginal and uterine environment are ideal, most sperm cells can easily survive between six to seven days in a woman’s fallopian tube. This is where it has the most chances of fertilizing an egg. However, since there is no such thing as ideal conditions, the average time that most sperms survive is three to four days. The lifespan may vary between one to seven days.

Fertilization is possible for as long as the sperm are alive and present in the female reproductive system. Their motility and morphology will determine whether they are able to reach and fertilize the ovum. If they are not able to swim quickly or not shaped correctly, their chances of dying inside the womb without fertilizing an egg tend to rise. Even if fertilization does occur, only one sperm will survive, that is, the one that actually fertilizes the egg. The remaining sperm will die sooner or later.

Keep in mind that sperms will be continuously dying in the woman’s reproductive system. So, with each passing day more and more sperm will keep on dying. This is why the best way to conceive is to have sex every two to three days so that a few numbers of sperm are always present in the female reproductive system waiting to fertilize an ovum.


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