We all know that the male sperm (Spermatozoa; from the Greek word for “seed”) carries half the DNA material for creating new life in conjunction with an egg from the female of the species. But most of us are unaware that there is a lot more to sperm than just this. Here are some interesting facts about the human sperm that you may not be familiar with:
- Every time a man ejaculates, there are about 200 million sperms ejected with the semen, and of these, only one will fertilise the egg.
- A man’s sperm count is crucial for the reproduction process. Factors like smoking, lack of sleep, weight and obesity, extreme stress might affect the quality of the sperm.
- Sperm count varies according to the season, mainly because of the difference in the temperature. So the count can be expected to be low in summers and at a peak during winters.
- Only about 50% of the sperm show any movement.
- Each spermatozoon takes about 30-45 days to fully mature. It can take between 30 minutes to several days to reach and fertilise the egg. This means that even if a woman ovulates a few days after having unprotected sex, she can still get pregnant.
- The sperm can stay in a woman’s body for more than two days depending on the presence of cervical mucus and how much it can protect the sperm.
- The sperms are coated with specific glycoproteins that are recognized by the immune system of the female as a friendly visitor. This is the reason why they are not attacked and killed inside the vagina by the female’s immune system.
- With age, sperm quality is likely to decline. Some studies have suggested that offspring of older fathers are more likely to suffer from certain genetic disorders, including autism, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.