How long can sperm survive after ejaculation?



Human sperm cells

 

Alright, ladies, let’s get personal. We’re gonna talk about sperm. Our favorite topic (not really…), but it’s a good thing to know something about when you make the decision that you are going to try to conceive. Just as you have gotten to know your own body better in order to take control of your journey of reproduction, it never hurts to get to know your partner’s body as well.

So, back to sperm. How long can they survive after they have been (ahem) shot out into the world?   Your body is close to the temperature sperm are used to and, depending on the time in your cycle, the environment can be more or less friendly to them.  The good news is that research has shown that sperm may survive 3 to 5 days after ejaculation in an optimal reproductive environment.

Sperm can survive far longer inside the cervix than in the vagina (up to several days), so your best bet as a mama-to-be is to make sure that the sperm can make their way up into your cervix. After having sex, it’s a good idea for you to lie on your back and push your bum up in the air. This allows the angle of your vagina to work with gravity to transport the sperm down into your cervix, rather than making them climb up into it. Once they’re in your cervix they can hang around for several days, waiting for the brand new egg to make its way down to meet them. The vagina is usually a more acidic environment than inside the cervix and into the uterus, so it’s best to get them to their destination as quickly as you can!

You’ve probably heard that it’s a good idea to have sex a few days before you ovulate, since the sperm have a longer shelf life than the egg. That way, they can wait safely in the uterus until the egg comes down, and increases your chances to conceive.

You’ll also want to make sure that your vaginal environment is conducive to keeping the sperm safe by making sure that you drink enough water so that there is enough moisture in your vagina. Cervical mucus during ovulation should be thin and sticky, the consistency of raw egg white. If you notice that you don’t have this consistency of mucus during your ovulation, you may want to look into your hormone levels, because that may indicate a hormonal imbalance. Another factor in the composition of your vaginal lubricant is how relaxed and sexually aroused you are, so make sure you take some time, and don’t rush it! In fact, some research has shown that a woman’s orgasm actually helps to carry the sperm into the cervix, so when you hit that O, you are making it more likely that you will conceive. So go enjoy some good orgasms!


Last modified: June 3, 2014