Whether you are planning a pregnancy or are concerned about birth control, the sperm plays an important role. Small spoiler alert upfront: The little guys don’t have it easy!
But first of all: What are they actually made of? In fact, the amount of sperm is less than 1% of the ejaculate. The majority is fluid, which is made up of secretions from various glands. Next, we will explain why the sperm cells depend on such a large amount of liquid for their survival. But before that, let’s go back to the structure of a sperm: It’s only 0.05 mm in size. You need a microscope to look at it. How does it look? In shape, a sperm resembles a bit a tadpole. It has an oval head, a short neck, middle section and a relatively long tail, which it needs for locomotion.
What Does A Sperm Cell Usually Need To Survive?
Quite simply: the semen! Without them, the tiny survivors are quickly lost. Dryness, high temperatures or, last but not least, the environment in the woman’s vagina make life difficult for them. They can survive up to five days in the uterus and in the fallopian tubes of the woman. But they have to get there first. Not easy, because the vagina is the enemy of the sperm. Especially on the infertile days of the cycle, the temperature in the vagina is unfavorable for the male semen. The acidic environment takes its toll on him and the spermatic cords die off within minutes. It’s different just before ovulation. But even with good conditions around ovulation, only about 10% of the spermatozoa reach the entrance. And its slime is structured in such a way that it prevents shapeless candidates from continuing to swim. If, against all odds, a sperm manages to get through to the egg cell and penetrate it, cell division begins. If everything is going well now, the so-called nests in the membrane of the uterus after about three days. The sperm has reached its goal: you are pregnant!
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