Semen and sperm mean two different things. Although people use the two terms interchangeably, they are actually different. According to an infertility specialist and reproductive endocrinologist, F. Nicholas Shamma, sperm is a microscopic tadpole-like germ-cell found in semen. Semen, on the other hand, is what is produced by the penis during ejaculation.
Sperms are amazing wrigglers that find themselves in people’s agenda. Some are out to kill them, others to want to buy or sell them, while yet others are busy fretting over their failure to get the ultimate job done. Either way, the world would be a dormant place without them.
Want to learn more interesting sperm facts? The following are 10 fascinating sperm facts that will leave you amazed with their abilities:
1. Sperm Creation
The journey of a sperm, from creation to ejaculation, takes about three months. It also takes about 64 days for the male human body to produce sperm, after that another, 24 to 28 days for it to be transported and finally ejected through ejaculation.
Men produce vast amounts of sperm during their lifetime. It’s estimated that 95 percent of normal men produce about 2 Trillion sperms, which is about 7.5 litres. Besides, they ejaculate about 700 billion of these swimmers in their lifetime. It’s worth noting that sperm production declines with age, so the fertility rates of sperm tend to decline as you get older.
2. Gender Determination
Sperms are responsible for egg fertilization, and determination of zygote gender. This is because they bear half the number of regular human chromosomes while the egg carries the other half. For a zygote to be female, the sperm must bear an X chromosome. If it bears a Y chromosome, the resulting zygote is male.
3. Champion Sperm
There is a fantastic amount of sperm produced in each ejaculation. An average ejaculation has about 1.5 to 5 millilitres of semen, each containing about 15 million sperms. However, it takes only one sperm to fertilize an egg. This particular sperm encounters a lot of obstacles and stiff competition along the way before emerging the winner and finally fertilizing the egg.
Sperm can survive in the female body for up to five days. They love the wet and warm environments found in the female body. However, they can only survive a few minutes outside the human body. This means they cannot survive in towels, toilets, seats, or hot tubs. So, the fear that one can get pregnant by coming into contact with such items is baseless.
The male pre-ejaculate does not contain sperm. The sticky, clear, pre-ejaculatory fluid consists of prostatic secretions, which is fluid from the prostate. Theoretically, this means one can’t get pregnant from pre-ejaculate. However, latent potent sperm from a previous ejaculation can exist in a man’s urethra, which could, in turn, slip into a conducive female reproductive system and cause pregnancy.
Besides, although the pre-ejaculate contains no sperm, it doesn’t prevent one from contracting sexually-transmitted infections.
6. Sperm Consistency
One of the interesting sperm facts has to do with the consistency of sperm production, which changes every day. It can be thick and gloopy one day, and extremely slippery and liquid the next. Its consistency is affected by various factors such as hydration. The more water a man drinks, the thinner his emissions will be. When semen in the gelatinous phase meets with prostate enzymes, everything gels and liquefies into a smoother consistency.
However, if an ejaculation interrupts this merger before it’s completed, the resultant semen will have a gel-like consistency. If sperm hangs out in the vagina, it becomes more mobile since the environment there helps it to liquefy further.
7. Heat Damage
Certain daily activities can damage a man’s sperm. These include exposure to excessive heat, such as working all day in front of a 400-degrees hot oven. It may also mean using hot tubs several times a week, regular smoking and being overweight, although the latter has not been scientifically proven. Since laptops generate a lot of heat, it’s a smart move by men to keep them off their laps.
8. Smell and Taste of Sperm
There is no scientific way to change the smell or taste of semen. As long as the man is healthy, it shouldn’t have a foul taste or smell. Of course, it does not taste or smell like donuts, but it’s definitely bearable and not that awful as some people think. Although smoking is blamed for distasteful semen, it’s primarily due to the different toxins brought about by indulgence. No proof exists to the effect that eating Kiwi fruits improves the taste and smell of semen.
9. DIY Storage Myth
Freezing and thawing semen from a thermos for DIY insemination, the way it’s done in the movies is a myth. Freezing semen at home is not recommended since it needs to be frozen in liquid nitrogen at -190 degrees Celsius, which is not achievable at home. Any attempts at DIY storage will kill the sperms.
10. Sperm Allergy
Though sperm allergy is a rare phenomenon, it affects less than one percent of women. The symptoms include swelling, itching and redness in areas coming into contact with semen, much like any other contact allergy. One can, however, be desensitized through medication.