A sperm is a male reproductive cell that is produced by the testes of a male reproductive organ. These are produced in the seminiferous tubules of each testicle. A mature sperm cell is about 0.05 millimeters long and it consists of a head, body, and tail.

The head of the sperm consists of DNA that combines with your female partner’s egg’s DNA. The head of the sperm is called the acrosome, which helps the sperm to pierce through the egg. The mid-section of the sperm consists of the mitochondria that supply energy to the sperm’s tail. This energy makes the tail move to swim through the female reproductive tract towards the egg. Your sperm has to travel through the cervix and then it will reach the uterus and then to the fallopian tube for fertilizing the egg.

However, how long can a sperm live inside the female body depends on a certain number of factors? Studies have shown that the maximum period your sperm can survive inside your female partner’s body is 5 days. Although, if you have male infertility issues like low sperm count or low sperm motility then some of your sperm will live for a shorter time. The survival of your sperms also depends upon the conditions of your partner’s vagina, fallopian tubes, and uterus. Your sperms won’t survive inside a female body if the inner conditions are not suitable and will die within a few hours.

The female vagina has a fertile cervical fluid that helps to increase your sperm’s survival rates inside the vagina. The cervix of the female’s vagina has acidic components and if you are not suffering from any male infertility issues and your sperm is healthy, then it may survive up to 12 hours.

Every time you ejaculate, around 100 million sperms are released through your semen, but only a few and healthiest sperms will travel through the cervix and then to the uterus. If the sperms safely reach the uterus, then they will travel towards the fallopian tubes and will stay there and wait for the eggs to fertilize for 5 days.

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How long can a sperm survive outside the body?

How long can your sperm survive outside the body depends upon where it is located? Outside the body, your sperm can survive up to 15 to 30 minutes if it is in a suitable environment. If it is on a dry surface like a table or clothes, then it will die as soon as it dries up. However, if it is on a warm or moist surface like a hot tub or human skin, then it will tend to live longer as the sperm develops in wet and warm environments.

If the doctor collects your sperm with an intracytoplasmic sperm injection and keeps it in a frozen and proper condition, then it will survive for longer periods. A study explained that around 119,558 semen samples were retrieved from adult men and were kept in a Cryo storage for about six months and 15 years. The survival rate of these frozen sperm samples was reduced to 74 percent from 85 percent. Whereas, if your sperm is stored in a cryo storage for 11 to 15 years, then it will have a survival rate between 74 to 80 percent which is about 82 percent of sperm samples stored in a freezing condition for about 6 months to 5 years. Therefore, if doctors keep your sperm in cryo storage for a longer time then it will have a minimal effect on the survival rate of the sperms.

In the above context, it is explained that the survival rate of your sperm depends upon the conditions and environment inside a female body and outside the body. If your sperm is outside the body like on any surface or any cloth, it will die immediately as soon as it will dry up. On your skin and other warm places like a hot tub, the sperm may live up to 15 and 30 minutes. The survival rate of the sperm decreases to a few seconds in a warm environment, whereas, in freezing conditions like cryo storage, the life span of the sperm increases. But inside a female body, your sperm will live up to 5 days till the fertilization of the egg.

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Dr. Jay Mehta Fertility and IVF Specialist In Mumbai

Dr. Jay Mehta

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Dr. Jay Mehta is the Scientific Director of Shree IVF Clinic. He is a well-known Fertility and IVF Specialist and also among few doctors in the country who specializes in Embryology and Andrology.

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