Sperm cells are very special, they aren’t just some other cell in the body. In this article, we would be looking at 5 interesting facts about them that you probably didn’t know.
1. They are the smallest cells in the body.
Sperm cells are really small and in terms of volume, they are the smallest cells in the body. They measure just about 4 micrometres in length, a little less than the size of red blood cells and 20 times smaller than the average female egg cell. While sperm cells are the smallest cells in the body, the female egg is the largest, large enough to be seen with the naked eye.
2. They are produced and released in very large quantities.
What sperm cells lack in size, they make up for in their numbers. The average male adult produces about 1,500 sperm cells every second. This means 290 million everyday and more than 500 billion new sperm cells in a lifetime.
Apart from being produced in large quantities, they are also released in huge numbers. The average ejaculate contains more than 40 million sperm cells. In fact, if a guy produces less than 15 million sperm cells in one millilitre, he has a low sperm count.
In contrast, women are born with all the eggs they will ever have and lose them in huge numbers as they grow older. By menopause, they will have no eggs left.
3. They need low temperatures to survive.
Sperm cells need to be at low temperatures to prevent them from dying off. This is why guys have scrotal sacs. If you ever wondered why men have their testicles in sacs, it’s because these sacs provide a temperature that is about 2 degrees Celsius less than the core body temperature.
It is also because of this fact that men are advised not to wear very tight pants or boxer shorts, swim in hot tubs for an extended period or use computers on their laps. These activities increase the scrotal temperature and could lead to a lower sperm count and quality.
4. They prefer a different energy source
You might have heard that our digestive systems break down carbohydrates into simpler sugars, and our cells need energy in form of glucose to carry out their functions. This is very true, our cells love glucose and without enough glucose in the blood, a person could quickly lose consciousness and probably die. This is not the case with sperm cells, they prefer fructose instead of glucose. They use fructose to power their swimming abilities and other cellular functions. Scientists believe that they use this different energy source to avoid competition from bacteria since many bacteria also thrive on glucose.
5. They can live for up to 5 days in a woman’s body
Sperm cells are known to survive for about 2- 5 days in a woman’s body after $ex. After ejaculation, sperm cells swim in semen into the womb and head for the fallopian tubes where one may fertilize a released egg. If no egg is released, they can remain in the tube for as long as 5 days till an egg is released then attempt to fertilize it.
Outside the body of a man, like if they are released on a bed sheet or a clothing material, sperm cells only survive for about 20 minutes before dying off.
Dr. Charles-Davies Omiete is a medical doctor and founder of 25 Doctors, a website where you can ask doctors questions online.