I think it’s safe to say that we’re all well aware that sperm is necessary for the creation of another human being. However, sometimes, besides that brief Vicky Donor stint, of course, these strange tadpole-looking cells just don’t receive enough credit for the role they play in the conception of life.
It may have to do with the fact that women steal all the limelight, what with having to carry the future of our species within their very own body for nine whole months. But the truth is that since it takes two to do the vertical tango, half of the child’s genetic code happens to lie within a man’s swimmers. Besides that, there are several other little fun facts about sperm that you may not entirely be aware of. But, since we’re oh-so-obliging, here is a list of 7 sperm facts that you may not necessarily need but will wholly appreciate.
1. Sperm Is The Product Of Your Man’s Diet
Yes! What your man happens to eat daily can significantly impact the health of his sperm. DHA, which is a part of essential omega-3 fatty acids found in cod liver oil and Alaskan wild salmon, plays a crucial role in the correct formation of sperm cells. According to a 2011 study published in The Journal of Biology and Reproduction, researchers found that consuming DHA could actually improve the morphology and motility of sperm cells (1).
Another study suggests that men who managed to drink daily 3 or more cups of caffeine actually reduced their total sperm count while simultaneously lowering the overall quality of their sperm (2).
Additionally, if your man loves his morning cup of freshly squeezed orange juice, here’s some good news! Vitamin C has been found to prevent DNA damage in sperm, thereby helping reduce the odds of a chromosomal disorder or miscarriage (3).
2. He Needs To Regularly Climax For His Swimmers To Be Healthy
Abstaining from sex or even ejaculating infrequently could lead to oxidative stress as a result of decreased semen turnover (4). What it basically means is that since sperm will then have to reside for longer in the gonads, the probability of them being exposed to harmful reactive oxidative species, toxic substances or suspicious WBCs increases.
One particular study revealed that men who happened to ejaculate 4 or more times each month were found to have better sperm morphology.
3. Sperm Is Susceptible To Damage From Wireless Tech
In a 2012 study published in Fertility and Sterility, researchers found that wireless devices like mobile phones, laptops, and tablets played a significant role in decreasing sperm health (6).
These findings are tremendously important for, in the past, it was believed that the only the heat radiating from laptops had a negative impact on sperm health. But now, we know that computers and mobile phones connected to the Wi-Fi network can also damage sperm through non-thermal effects.
4. The Female Body Actually Gives Sperm That Extra Boost Of Energy To Penetrate The Egg
Considering how tiny the sperm cells are, they have to endure an incredibly long journey to finally encounter the egg in a woman’s fallopian tubes. However, their quest doesn’t end there. There still remains the dilemma of penetrating the egg, a feat that is rather difficult after all the swimming they’ve had to do.
This is when the hormone progesterone saves the day. Female progesterone helps give the sperm that extra surge of energy, encouraging it to swim faster and finally penetrate the awaiting egg (7).
Now, that’s what I call teamwork.
5. Sperms Have Secret Superhero-Like Powers
We’ve all heard of women gushing about men who could make them melt. Who would have thought that’s a literal superpower possessed by sperm? When sperms finally encounter the female egg, they can actually ‘melt’ its surface to achieve fertilization. They can do this through the release of certain enzymes from the ‘head’ portion of their structure – the acrosome.
6. And Since They’re Oh-So-Important, They Also Have Bodyguards
Yes, they do! Sperm cells, as we previously established, are rather strange looking. So strange that while they are residing in a man’s body, the male immune system could actually mistake sperm as a foreign invader and proceed to murder it! Which is why the testicles contain specialized cells that create a barrier between the sperm cells and the immune cells, thereby protecting them. It’s very common for this barrier of ‘bodyguard’ cells to break in as high as 70% of all vasectomy patients.
7. Sperm Can Live For Days – No Kidding.
For real. According to a 1984 study published in Biology of Reproduction, sperm can successfully survive for up to 5 whole days inside a woman’s body if the circumstances are right (8). However, more commonly, an average sperm lives for up to 2 days. Hence, try being realistic in your calculations when you’re attempting to conceive.
There you have it – seven surprising sperm facts that you probably never know but, oh well, now you do.
Emaan is a voracious and rather indiscriminate reader. She is also a writer, history buff, insomniac, amateur doodle artist, terrible poet and a self-professed philosopher (but only after 3 am). Currently, she is pursuing a degree in medicine.