How Long Does Sperm Live Outside the Body?

There are anywhere from 100 to 600 million sperm in every teaspoon of semen. You require just one to make it to the right location — the right fallopian tube — at the proper time — after ovulation — to create a brand-new life.

How Long Does Sperm Live Outside the Body?

This makes it seem like pregnancy could occur very quickly. It typically does, of course, but many sperm pass away prior to making it to their final location. Comprehending the length of time sperm live — within and outside the body — can assist whether you are trying to get pregnant or attempting to avoid getting pregnant.

Sperm cells have a minimal life process. Some sperm die within a couple of minutes. A few may live up to 7 days, however just under best conditions.

A sperm’s life process outside the man’s body starts at the moment of ejaculation.

Its objective is to swim through a woman’s cervix, make it through the uterus and end in the fallopian tube in search of an egg. It will not have much time. During this procedure, sperm cells face numerous obstacles, and every one decreases the number of sperm. Out of the half-million sperm that started out, just about 10-20 will really reach the female’s egg — if there even is one readily available at that time.

Also read: How long does sperm live inside a woman

When a sperm winds up outside of the female’s body, it lives just a few minutes. Sperm requires wetness and heat to live, so when exposed to air they quickly pass away. As soon as semen dries, the sperm within it passes away.

This might result in the idea that “taking out” prior to ejaculation can avoid a pregnancy, but that isn’t really always the case. Pre-ejaculation fluids can include sperm and can be left inside the vagina. Semen that is close to the vaginal area where there is heat and wetness can live up to 20 minutes and can still make it inside. The pull-out method of birth control isn’t really usually reliable.

Because sperm need moisture and heat to endure, it is possible for sperm to live when ejaculation happens in a bath or hot tub. Still, the opportunities of conceiving in this method are extremely slim. The ratio of water to sperm is quite high and the chances of a sperm making it through the water and into the vaginal area is low. Besides, any chemicals, soap or suds in the water are most likely to eliminate the sperm.

During vaginal sexual intercourse, sperm is transferred in the acidic vaginal area. This environment kills the sperm that don’t make it to the cervix within hours. During ovulation, the pH of the reproductive tract ends up being less acidic and sperm may live a little bit longer, providing extra time to swim upward toward the cervix.

Sperm that make it to the cervix and uterus have a longer life. They can live there up to five days, although many will die within one to two days. Here cervical fluids work to move the living sperm through the uterus and into a fallopian tube. Some experts think that the cervical fluid acts as a filter — permitting the most motile sperm through while stopping less mobile sperm.

Lastly, some sperm make it to a fallopian tube. Although a couple of thousand might make the complete journey there, only a few will discover an egg. The rest pass away during the search. The typical life of a sperm that makes it to the fallopian tube is 3 to four days, although some can live as long as a week.

There are some aspects that can shorten the average lifespan of a sperm cell:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Air contamination
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Illicit drug use or some medications
  • Alcohol
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Being obese

There is one way where a sperm can live forever: freezing. This is done when someone wishes to save sperm for later use through in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination or anonymous contribution to a sperm bank.


Last modified: March 20, 2017

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