Top 10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Sperm


We all know what the little guys are for and who’s responsible for making them, but  the baby makers are packing a lot more than just the half the DNA package to make a new human being.  Here are some surprising facts which are going to make you look at the little fella’s in a completely different light.

10. Fertility at the Speed of Light

Human sperm travels at the staggering rate of up to 4 millimeters per minute, but many are as slow as 1 millimeter per minute.  You have to put this into perspective; human sperm are only 55 millionths of a millimeter or 55 microns in length, so a millimeter is a pretty big deal to the mini-me’s.

The average length of the journey to the fallopian tubes is 175 millimeters, which means the Road Runners of the team can get there in 45 minutes, but in practice the journey takes anything up to 3 days.

9.  A 25% Shot at the Title

Even a fertile couple with no conception issues and practicing unprotected sex with ejaculation in the female have only a 1–in-4 chance of conceiving.  If you wear jockey shorts to keep the meat and two veg neatly packaged, instead of those airy boxer shorts, your chances start dwindling rapidly.

Human reproduction is notoriously fickle and very inefficient; in fact, it’s a wonder any of us got here to begin with.

8. Sperm are Like Men – No Sense of Direction

One of the reasons for sperm taking so long to find the egg is because they have no sense of direction.  There are chemical signatures released by the egg to act as a “guide” to the sperm, but have you ever known of a man to take directions from a woman?

Only 1 in 5 sperm will start swimming in the right direction after ejaculation, which accounts for that age old bedroom debate about who will be sleeping in the sticky patch after making love.

7. Your Biological Clock is Ticking – Not Yours, Girls – The Guys!

The biological alarm clock may be ticking for women, but they have a much longer lie in life’s fertility bed than men do; for guys the biological alarm goes off much earlier. Women display menopause symptoms in middle age, but guys start a rapid decline in the quantity and quality of their sperm when they hit the ripe old age of 25!

6. New York vs. Los Angeles

Gangsta rappers may have their West coast/east coast rivalry, but there is one thing there is no dispute over.  For reasons no-one understands, New York men have a 50% increased sperm count than guys from Los Angeles.  Go Giants!

5. Never Get Stuck in Reverse

Sperm can only swim in one direction – forwards.

4. Size Does Matter

The sperm of a fruit fly can be as long as the body of the male fly, about 1.1 mm. On the other hand, of the vast number of mammals, humans included, have one of the smallest sperm cells, measuring only 40 microns long. Rats produce one of the largest sperm at 170 microns long.

If there was a prize for biggest sperm in nature, it would go to Drosophila bifurca, a tiny fruit fly whose coiled sperm would measure more than 2 inches long if straightened out. That’s 1,000 times longer than an average human sperm. (Source)

“To put that into perspective, if humans made sperm that long and you took a six-foot man and stood him on the goal line of a football field, his sperm would stretch out to the 40-yard line,” said Adam Bjork, a Ph.D. student at Syracuse University in New York.

3.  Time to Mature

Sperm take 2 ½ months to grow to maturity in the testes. The question then becomes where are all these little guys hanging out down there?  The sperm nursery and warehouse is the epididymis which found on top of the testes.

2. How Come There is Enough Room for All the Little Guys Down There?

The majority of ejaculate is not sperm; sperm only accounts for around 5% of your population juice, with the rest being made up of fluids which contain a combination of nutrients and protective substrate to help the little guys on their way to the egg.

1. Eat Your Veggies

How healthy a man is has a direct bearing on his fertility.  Eating fresh fruit and vegetables, avoiding junk food and maintaining a healthy weight, lots of fresh air and exercise, taking vitamin supplements, getting plenty early nights and abstaining from tobacco and alcohol, are all guaranteed to give a man a higher sperm count.  Not only will he produce more sperm, but they will be much more energetic and thus more likely to be The One – the only issue with this is your offspring are likely to be very boring.

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      • No, nanometer is too small, it’s a billionth of a meter in US units. 55 nanometers would be a size of a very small virus.

        You should have said ’55 millionths of a METER or 55 microns in length’.

    • Furthermore, think about this…sperm go 4mm/minute or 240mm/hour. 55 microns is 0.055mm, so sperm travel at 240mm/0.055mm = 4,364 times their length in one hour. Take a 6ft human. Multiply that by 4364, and you get 26,184ft/hour. 5,280 ft/mile, so 26,184/5280 = ~5.0mph. Given that the average person swims about 2mph while Michael Phelps record speed is about 6mph*, sperm can be thought to swim (relative to body size) about as fast as the world’s fastest human swimmers, but certainly nowhere near as fast as the fastest fish, the sailfish, which can reach speeds of 68mph.

  1. Lichumo Murry on

    The search for lenghth of the mature spermatozoa let me here, and thanks i found it,,55microns it is.

  2. This ‘Karl’ fellow must be confused about his gender. Either that or ultimately the author is a tranny. This list is bias and very offensive…towards men.

    I would like to point out two points that were more offensive than the others :

    -Men do NOT have a bad sense of direction

    -Just because an individual avoids alcohol and smoking, eats his vegetables, and leads a generally healthy life, does NOT NOT NOT! mean his kids will be boring. That is the most dim witted attempt at a opinionated joke i have ever seen.

    Even your title seems to offend readers, confidently stating that we did not know any of these facts.

    This article is truly garbage, and while the non bias points might be scientifically valid, it doesn’t take a good poster to fish them out of google, it takes a good poster to post an actual funny, educated, and witty article that doesn’t offend the same gender as the friggin author. No innovative points, and the more points you read, the more you want to shoot someone.

  3. This list is just chock full of factual errors, mistaken thinking, and just plain weirdness. Examples:
    #9 – “Human reproduction is notoriously fickle and very inefficient” – except, maybe, compared to other mammals. Have you ever read about any other animals (or even watched the Discovery channel)? Check out lions, for example.
    #8 – Men have no sense of direction? What planet are you on? The average man’s spatial ability is much higher than the average woman’s, due to higher testosterone levels. That’s why men are typically much better at reading maps. *Ego* is why they don’t want to ask for directions (which is a little above a sperm’s thinking level). Also, the “wet spot” is due to “backflow,” and has nothing to do with the direction that sperm swim; it’s due entirely to processes in the woman’s body. You probably don’t want to know too much about it.
    #7 – What does this have to do with a biological clock? The term refers to the fact that most women *can’t* get pregnant over the age of about 40. A man’s “quality and quantity” of his sperm might start dropping at 25, but men can father children well into their 70’s, and probably beyond (though they might need Viagra by that point, to help get the wigglers there).
    #5 – WTF is up with a shark picture? (Not a factual error, just…WTF.)
    #4 – “On the other hand, of the vast number of mammals, humans included, have one of the smallest sperm cells, measuring only 40 microns long.” – Sentences like this are what an editor is supposed to prevent.
    #1 – Sounds more like an advertisement for Mormonism than scientific research. “plenty of fresh air” will increase a man’s sperm count? NO alcohol or tobacco, or else numbers drop? Vitamin supplements are proven (no – guaranteed!!) to increase sperm count? To quote another website, “Citation Needed”.

    Some might argue that the lists on this site are just for entertainment, but I’d reply that it IS possible to be entertaining AND informative AND accurate. This was the 3rd or 4th list I’ve read on this site…and, I’m done.

      • Thanks Jonathan, looks like some guys need to do their homework before giving their “facts” and opinions.
        Hey guys- take a joke. Your acting so hormonal. But my question is- do you actually bleed like women when you are on your period?

    • I want to know how an Hiv positive woman can get pregnant at home insemination, either from a husband who is an hiv negative or from sperm bank.

  4. Hey guys,
    I thought i’d tell you that that picture of the men on the beam was making the empire state building i believe. But! The interesting part is that most of them in that picture are from Canada, Newfoundland to be specific

  5. #8 uhh, what? Men have better spacial recognition and awareness than women. They sort of needed it to go hunting and find their way back home. That sleight was just offensive rather than funny.

    • Spot on. It’s women who have the least developed sense of direction! This certainly goes back to our mammoth hunting days.

    • Take a joke. Women have to deal with sexist jokes constantly, they can’t joke about men now? I’m not saying sexist jokes are only okay if they’re directed towards guys, but I’m saying both parts should chill, and ESPECIALLY men. There is much more offensive things towards women out there.

    • And it’s untrue that men have better special recognition and awareness than women. That’s just a sexist, offensive statement in the first place.

        • Why are more women graduating from college then? Why are more women becoming doctors scientist? Girls aren’t good at math a science is just a myth?

      • Do you have any facts to back up your statement or are you just talking out of your vagina? Yeah… that’s what I thought

      • um…its how we evolved back in the hunter gatherer days, since you know that handy GPS you have wasn’t around back then.

        you can never joke with women….

        • “Facts” as in crapyou pulled out of your behind that you repeat in order to promote this idea of male superiority. Oh jee, did you know people use those kinds of socially-constructed “facts” to also support white supremacy? Seriously. Sit down dudebro.

      • but what is really puzzling to me is, how are you able to cook a wonderful meal and hate on men at the same time?

      • I studied this at university (and I’m a woman) and indeed me DO have a better spatial ability on average.

        I’m all for equality in this we are equal in, but it’s o.k to admit we are not equal in all things. Men don’t be offended if i say you just aren’t as good at breastfeeding as us women. I promise I’m not being sexist haha