10 surprising facts about sperm

These little swimmers are vital for creating another human being, yet there’s a lot more to them than you know.

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Just as it takes two hands to clap, it takes an egg and a sperm to make a baby.

These little swimmers hold a chunk of DNA determining the various attributes of the human being that’s to come. And all too often, they don’t get enough credit for the role they play in conception.

Here are some fascinating facts about sperm you might not have known about the part they play in creating life

1) Most sperm are deformed
“Normal” sperm should have a head that’s oval in shape, a mid-section and a long, straight tail. However, one study found that deformities ― such as two heads, no heads, two tails or a coiled tail ― are found in 85 to 95 per cent of a man’s sperm.

The deformities don’t make the men any less fertile. What’s important is that the “normal” 5 to 15 per cent are mobile and fast-moving, and that the man has a reasonable volume of semen and sperm count

The majority are like drunk little guys who would rather swim in circles or “tread water” upon ejaculation.

2) Most of them don’t swim straight
Erm, yup, the majority are like drunk little guys who would rather swim in circles or “tread water” upon ejaculation.

Only about 20 per cent of sperm actually make their way upstream towards the egg. 

3) The “head” of the sperm does the drilling
That oval-shaped structure at the top tip of the sperm, called the acrosome, contains strong chemicals that can “melt” the surface, or the outer membrane of the female egg. Once the surface has been penetrated, the sperm burrows through the rest of the egg wall, and the sperm plasma can then fuse with the plasma membrane of the egg.

4) His diet matters
If you’re trying for a baby, do keep an eye on what your man chows down on.

Let him load up on the DHA that’s found in omega-3 essential fatty acids ― fish like salmon and cod are packed with this ― since it increases the fluidity and movement of sperm.

Foods with vitamin C also improve sperm quality and reduces the likelihood of miscarriage and chromosomal problems

Other “sperm-friendly” foods include whole-grain cereals, oysters, bananas, garlic and lean beef. Drink plenty of water as well, since sperm spend their lives submerged in fluid.

Click here for a list of sperm-killing foods to avoid.

5) The average ejaculate contains…
(Drum roll please…) 200 million sperm. And yet, only one sperm cell (usually) can fertilise a woman’s egg ― so, there’s plenty of competition for that honour!