Medical Q&As

Sperm - survival after ejaculation?

How long do sperm live once they have been ejaculated?

The average figure quoted for survival of sperm is approximately seventy two hours. That period of time may be shorter or longer depending on the state of the mucous in the woman’s vagina. If the mucous were hostile to sperm, which can be a factor in infertility, sperm might not even survive a couple of hours. Vaginal mucous is necessary in order to protect and nourish sperm. If the sperm were not deposited in mucous it would not be capable of surviving for longer than four hours. This is a crucial consideration when a semen analysis is required. If the semen sample is not brought to the laboratory for immediate analysis the sperm may not survive, which could lead to wrong conclusions being drawn regarding the possibility of male infertility. If sperm is frozen in liquid nitrogen it can survive for up to twenty years. However, the survival of frozen sperm is very variable and may last just a few months. The average survival of sperm in frozen conditions is approximately seven years.