So tiny; so wriggly; so tadpole-y. A male’s contribution to reproduction, these little suckers have one mission: To fertilize a female’s egg and create life. While their primary function is certainly fascinating, there are a lot of other cool things about sperm that you probably don’t know about.
What’s that? Cool? – Yep! These little cells are actually pretty fascinating and downright, well, cool! Though it may be a topic you don't ordinarily talk about, if you are trying to get pregnant, sperm may suddenly be the hot topic du jour, and for good reason: You can't very well get pregnant without sperm!
There's so much more to sperm than being one of the foundations of life (which is pretty cool, in and of itself!) If you want to gain a whole new appreciation for your partner's small, but very necessary, contribution to the life cycle, then keep on reading because your mind is about to be blown!
15 Sperm can be Damaged by Wireless Technology
This may make a man think twice about spending so much time on his cell phone.
A recent study found that wireless devices, like cell phones and laptops, decrease the health of sperm. It is believed that the radiofrequency electromagnetic waves act as free-radicals, which cause oxidative damage to the cells of the body, including sperm. Free-radicals can impact the integrity of DNA, may make sperm less mobile and can even kill the cells. Ladies, it can affect your eggs, too!
So, the next time you are scrolling through you see your partner scrolling through his phone mindlessly, you may want to remind him that he could be impacting the speed and the strength of his little swimmers. That will make him think twice about playing Angry Birds or sharing posts on The Chive.
14 It’s Pretty Normal to be Abnormal
It’s not uncommon for sperm cells to be atypical. In fact, about 90% of the sperm that a man ejaculates are deformed in some way. Those little swimmers can have two heads, two tails, super-sized heads, tiny heads, no heads or no tails at all... There's no definitive reason why so many sperm are abnormal, though there are believed to be several reasons why sperm can be affected (see above - wireless technology!) These abnormalities may actually just be normal.
When you consider this, it’s really is quite a miracle that humans continue to reproduce! And, when you do conceive, you really have to relish the fact that out of all of those swimmers, one perfect one made it to your egg and fertilized it! That, my friends, is truly incredible!
13 Regular Climax = Healthy Seed
The next time you are wondering why men seem to enjoy climaxing so much (other than the fact that it feels good,) remember that there is actually a scientific need for regularly climaxing: In order for a man’s sperm to remain healthy, he needs to climax on a regular basis.
Seldom ejaculation causes reduced semen turn-over, which leads to oxidative stress. In other words, the sperm stay tucked away for too long and are exposed to toxic substances that can damage them. In order to avoid being damaged by oxidative stress, those little swimmers need to get out and make room for new swimmers. So, let your guy have fun and enjoy his climax without questioning - it will lead to healthier sperm and could up your chances of successfully becoming pregnant.
12 A Little Goes a Long Way
It may seem like a lot at the time, but a man only ejaculates about a half a teaspoon. If you're wondering how much that is, go to your kitchen and pull out the measuring spoons. Take a look at that half a teaspoon and you will gain a real understanding of just how little that amount is. Though it may not that much, that tiny amount of seamen often fulfills its intended purpose. If you are wondering just how much a little goes a long way, consider the fact that there are more than 7 billion - yes, that Billion, with a B - people on earth! So yep, a little bit of semen really does go a very, very long way!
11 They Respond to Food
Yep, that’s right; the food a man eats can impact his sperm.
Certain nutrients are vital for the production of healthy sperm, like DHA. DHA also plays a role in the motility of sperm. So, if you’re trying to conceive, have your man eat foods that are high in DHA, like wild salmon, eggs, steak, chicken, and even sardines!
There are also foods that your guy should avoid eating if you are trying to conceive. The science is relatively new, but recent research suggests that processed meats and full-fat dairy products could significantly lower sperm count and health. So, the next time your guy grabs for a hamburger, hot dog or a glass of whole milk, remind him that he should really think twice because he could be affecting his little swimmers.
10 Progesterone Powers His Boys
Sperm is pretty tiny, and it has a pretty big journey. Not only do they have a long trip up the woman’s fallopian tube to the egg, but they also need to penetrate the egg once they get there. That's a lot of work for such tiny little swimmers. In order to complete their journey, sperm needs a little help, and they get that help from a women's hormones! They need a little help to complete that journey, and they get the help they need from the female’s progesterone.
That's right, a female's progesterone actually aids sperm in making the journey up the fallopian tube to the egg, and also helps it penetrate the egg. When a guy's little swimmers are getting tired out from all of the work they are doing, a sudden burst of progesterone from the woman gives the sperm the power it needs to penetrate the egg. Pretty cool, right?
9 They're Powerful
Well, you already knew that; I mean, given the fact that sperm has the ability to fertilize an egg and create a human life; but, it’s even more powerful than you may realize – and that power is exhibited before it even fertilizes the egg.
When sperm reaches the egg, its little head, called the acrosome, works to drill through the outer surface of the egg so that it can get inside and fertilize it. The acrosome is able to do this because it contains special chemicals that allow it to actually melt the outer surface of the egg. Wow!
8 Alive for Days
If you think that sperms power is depleted after a man ejaculates, you are wrong. In fact, you’re way wrong. Sperm can live for as long as 5; that’s right – FIVE – days inside a woman, if in the right conditions. However, it is more common for sperm to live for 2 days inside a woman, which is still pretty amazing!
What does this really mean for you? It means that if you are trying to conceive, doing the deed just two days before you ovulate - or possibly even five days before - could translate into a fertilized egg and a baby in 9 or so months. If you aren't trying to have a baby, make sure that you always use protection, because even if you aren't ovulating at the time your man climaxes, there's still a chance that you could get pregnant.
7 Sperm and Semen Aren’t the Same
Many people think that sperm and semen are one in the same; however, that’s not true. Sperm cells are only one part of semen; substances from the prostate and the seminal vesicles are also found in semen.
Now, with that in mind, when you think about the fact that a man only ejaculated a teaspoon at time, only a small portion of that teaspoon of ejaculation is actually sperm! This really puts the whole miracle of life into even bigger perspective! It truly is quite remarkable!
6 Feeling Cold, Cold, Cold
In order for sperm to stay healthy, it needs to be held at a cooler temperature than the rest of the body. To make this possible, the testicles are around 7 degrees cooler than the rest of the male body. So, in essence, the testicles are like refrigerator for the sperm. That's why when a man's internal temperature rises, his testicles descend further away from his body. While this may seem like too much information, it is actually pretty cool that the body knows how to regulate itself so well that it actually adjusts a man's testicles to help keep sperm healthy and effective.
5 All You Need is One…
...Testicle, that is.
If a man loses a testicle, there is no reason to assume that he can’t impregnate a woman. His remaining testicle is usually able to create the sperm that is needed to create a baby. That remaining testicle may actually grow in size to increase sperm output. So, if your man has been involved in an accident or he suffered an illness that compromised one of his testicles, have no fear; your chances of getting pregnant are still very good! It's pretty amazing how the body can adjust to all types of situations.
Oh, and the same is true for women! All you need is one ovary and fallopian tube to get pregnant! Take it from me; I lost one ovary and fallopian tube and I had no trouble getting pregnant twice!
4 Unhealthy Lifestyle = Unhealthy Swimmers
Several studies have found that men who live an unhealthy lifestyle – eat a poor diet, use tobacco and drink alcohol – have lower fertility rates. This is because these unhealthy actions negatively impact the health of the sperm.
Take, for example, the results of a recent study. In this study, the sperm of 53 heavy smokers and 63 nonsmokers were tested, and it was found that, indeed, cigarette smoke affects sperm. A human male’s sperm carries two small, yet highly overcharged proteins: protamine 1 and protamine 2. These proteins are kept in perfect balance naturally in non-smokers; however, in smokers, the sperm cells carry too little protamine 2. Because of this imbalance, a male smoker’s sperm is high susceptible to DNA damage. In other words, the sperm is not as strong or effective in a smoker as it is in a non-smoker.
So, if you want your sperm to stay healthy, you need to make healthy lifestyle choices.
3 A Strong Competition
Though it only takes one sperm cell to fertilize an egg, that one cell faces some pretty stiff competition. In fact, there are about 200 million sperm found in a single ejaculation. All of those sperm cells have one mission and one mission only: To fertilize an egg. Wow! That
If you've ever seen the movie "Look Who's Talking Too," remember the opening credits, when there are tons of sperm swimming up a fallopian tube and racing their way to an egg? And just one tiny sperm makes its way to the egg first and manages to get inside. That sperm is so proud of its success, and the rest are so bummed out! I don't think that sperm's journey is quite as animated as it is in the movie (though it sure would be funny if it were!), but it really puts the whole competition thing into perspective, doesn't it?
2 Long Live The Sperm
Unlike women, who are born with all of the eggs they will ever have in their lives, men produce sperm on a constant basis. Sperm is created all day, every day, throughout a man’s life.
While sperm may become slower and less powerful as a man ages, he still produces tons of sperm – until his dying day. So, if you are trying to become pregnant and your male partner is older, there is still a good chance that you could successfully conceive. Just look at George Lucas, who became a father at the age of 69!
1 Dead Ones Can Create a Live Baby
In the traditional way, a sperm needs to be alive in order to swim to the woman’s egg and fertilize it; however, this isn’t true in in-vitro fertilization.
Tiny, robotically controlled glass straws are used to insert a single sperm inside an egg during the process of in-vitro fertilization. This means that the sperm needn’t be alive to fertilize the egg; the only thing that is needed for fertilization is the DNA inside the sperm.