The male part of fertilization: the sperm


ca. 3 Minuten


Sperm cells make up the male part of fertilization. They contain the complete genetic material of the male and determine the sex of the child. However, there are other amazing facts about sperm and semen, not all of which are necessarily related only to fertilization, but are so remarkable that we have summarized them here:

  • Semen (seminal fluid or semen) is the whitish liquid that emerges from the urethra during ejaculation. It consists of sperm (spermatozoa) and, for the most part, fluids from various male glands.
  • A single sperm requires a maturation period of about 64 days. After that, it can survive for about one month in the male sperm depot.
  • The pre-ejaculate (pleasure drop) comes from the Cowper’s gland. It is believed to act as a lubricant for the semen from ejaculation.
  • On average, men ejaculate about a teaspoonful of semen, which is 3-5 ml of sperm.  Spread over a lifetime, this is an average of 30-50 l of semen ejaculation.
  • The sperm themselves account for only about 3-5%. The ejaculation consists mainly of water.
  • Even if men do not like to hear it: Not all sperm are purposeful, in fact, most are quite useless. There are about 40-600 million sperm in one ejaculation, but only half of them are in good health. The other part is not ideally shaped, fidgets aimlessly in the body fluid or does not move at all.  Among others, there are sperm with two heads, two tails, big heads, small heads, big tails, small tails, no tails…
  • Male sperm are faster than female sperm. However, male sperm are also more fragile and short-lived. Female sperm can survive on average 2-4 days longer in the uterus and are therefore longer capable of fertilization.
  • Nicotine harms sperm, this has been proven by numerous studies. Nicotine not only decreases sperm count but also severely limits their motility and functionality.
  • It’s true: Some foods can influence the taste and smell of semen. Pineapple, for example, has a positive influence. The sugar contained in the fruit makes the sperm sweet. Garlic and nicotine, on the other hand, have a rather negative effect on the taste of semen.
  • Like a “lottery six”, only one sperm out of several hundred million manages to penetrate the egg cell under favorable conditions and fertilize it.
  • Sperm are the only human cells produced in one individual but designed for survival in another.


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