10 interesting facts about male fertility

Dr. Evi Vogiatzi, Geneticist-Embryologist

Male fertility is a fascinating topic with many intriguing aspects. Here are 10 interesting facts about male fertility:

  1. Formation journey: It takes about 64 to 72 days for a single sperm cell to develop fully, from the initial division of a germ cell to the mature sperm released during ejaculation.
  2. Complex composition: Sperm cells are composed of various components, including the head, which contains the genetic material (DNA), the midpiece, which provides energy for movement, and the tail, which propels the sperm forward.
  3. Sperm production rate: The male body constantly produces sperm, and under ideal conditions, an adult male can produce around 1,500 sperm per second, with an average production rate of around 100 million to 300 million sperm per day.
  4. Sperm speed: Sperm are excellent swimmers! They can travel at a speed of about 0.06 millimeters per second, which is equivalent to about 0.16 kilometers per hour, enabling them to navigate through the female reproductive tract to reach the oocyte.
  5. Sperm lifespan: Sperm cells have a remarkable survival ability! Once ejaculated, sperm can survive inside a woman’s reproductive tract for up to 5 days under optimal conditions, waiting for the opportunity to fertilize the oocyte.
  6. Sperm size: Spermatozoa are incredibly small, measuring about 50 micrometers in length. Despite their tiny size, they carry all the genetic information needed to create a new life.
  7. Sperm DNA packaging: Spermatozoa undergo a unique process called protamination, which condenses and packages their DNA to fit inside the tiny sperm head effectively.
  8. Sperm health: It’s estimated that about 90% of the sperm in an average ejaculate are considered to have abnormalities in shape, motility, or other factors. However, only one healthy sperm is needed to fertilize the oocyte successfully.
  9. Testicle temperature: The ideal temperature for sperm production is slightly cooler than body temperature. This is why the testicles are located outside the body in the scrotum, which acts as a natural cooling mechanism.
  10. Stealthy sperm: The male testicles have a remarkable feature called the blood-testis barrier, which acts as a protective shield to prevent the immune system from detecting and attacking developing sperm as foreign invaders.

Remember, while these facts can be interesting, if you or someone you know is experiencing concerns about fertility, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance.