How Long Does Sperm Live After Ejaculation?

by |


Knowing how long sperm can live after ejaculation is important for those trying to conceive. This also applies to those trying to avoid pregnancy while using birth control and/or having unprotected sex. The lifetime of sperm outside the body depends on several physical and environmental factors (cervical mucus, humidity, temperature etc). Today we’ll discuss how long sperm lives after ejaculation in water, the female reproductive tract, on the skin and more.


Sperm Life in the Female Reproductive Tract

Men may ejaculate over 40 million sperm cells at once during intercourse. These sperm swim upwards towards the fallopian tubes, looking for a mature egg to fertilize. Fast swimming sperm can reach a mature egg as quickly as 30 minutes. However, after intercourse sperm can live in the female body from up to 5-6 days time depending on its environment.

The lifespan of sperm is under debate once it enters a woman’s body. The lifespan of sperm and sperm motility(swimming) is heavily influenced by cervical mucus. Because mucus provides sperm with the nutrients and the environment needed to live longer.

This is amazing considering that sperm can have a brief lifespan. When there is no cervical mucus present sperm dries out within a few hours. Tracking cervical mucus is essential to understanding your fertility because of this.

When your cervical mucus is rich in nutrients, the lifespan of sperm inside the vagina is prolonged. This gives the sperm extra time to reach and fertilize the egg. Sperm may also simply remain idle until the egg is released and ready to be fertilized.

Research shows that the chances of conceiving are more likely when intercourse is a few days before ovulation. Partly due to cervical mucus becoming more fertile approaching ovulation.

Learning to read the changes in mucus takes time. Also, mucus can be affected by lifestyle, sex, infections and several other variables. However, the benefit of using the Mira fertility tracker is that Mira measures your actual fertility hormone concentrations and shows your unique hormone curve. Thus, helping you accurately track your ovulation cycle even if you have variable cycles.

In conclusion, the lifespan of sperm inside a vagina strongly correlates to the conditions of the cervical mucus. Your cervical mucus changes as your menstrual cycle progress, gradually becoming more sticky and egg-white when closer to ovulation. However, accurately tracking the fertile window of your reproductive system using cervical mucus is chancy.

Having a hard time tracking ovulation? Mira takes the guesswork out by measuring your actual fertility hormone concentrations! Sign up today for exclusive Mira content and discounts!
Sign up Now


Skin and Dry Surfaces

When using the withdrawal method of sex, depending on the conditions, ejaculation usually occurs further away from the vulva. Although, sperm on the vulva or on the upper thighs can possibly find their way into the vagina, resulting in pregnancy.

Sperm left out on a dry surface(skin) becomes non-fertile within a few hours and can not get you pregnant. After previously dried sperm becomes rehydrated, it will still be non-fertile.


Ejaculating in Water


The condition of the pH and temperature that a sperm cell resides in is important in determining how long it survives. A sperm’s lifespan is practically nonexistent in chlorinated pools, hot tubs, and jacuzzis. Yet, it is possible for sperm to survive for a couple of minutes with plain water in a warm bath. Although a pregnancy occurring just from warm bath water with sperm in it is not likely, assuming no prior intercourse has taken place.


The Lifespan of Frozen Sperm

When sperm is properly stored in a frozen container, it continues to be fertile for an indefinite time period. There have been reported pregnancies for cases where sperm was stored for 21 years, before being thawed then inseminated.

Sperm is usually frozen at -70˚C when it is stored. Roughly 50% of sperm cells end up fertile after being frozen and then thawed out. Fortunately, the sperm cells are still capable of fertilization after this process.

Order Your Mira Today

Ready to easily, precisely, and automatically track your ovulation cycles? Let Mira take the guesswork out of getting pregnant, so you know exactly when to conceive.

Reserve Your Mira Today

Ready to easily, precisely, and automatically track your ovulation cycles? Let Mira take the guesswork out of getting pregnant, so you know exactly when to conceive.

Recent Posts

How to Conceive Twins: Factors and Tips

There are two types of twins that you can conceive. Monozygotic twinning (identical) occurs when your twins develop from one zygote that splits to form two separate embryos. Dizygotic (fraternal) twinning occurs when each originates from separate eggs, and the eggs are fertilized by their own sperm cell. Many couples become aware of their twin pregnancy through ultrasound scans after being pregnant for 8 to 14 weeks. 

What Happens After Stopping Birth Control Pill?

Do you feel it’s your time, and you’re ready to start this exciting journey of becoming a mom? Congratulations! One of the first and very obvious steps is to stop using contraception. However, if the pill is your primary method, don’t hurry. Here’s what every woman should take into consideration when she stops taking the pill.

Trying to Conceive: False-Positive OPK and Other Mistakes to Avoid

Trying to conceive is not an easy journey for many women. The Office On Women’s Health says that around 10 percent of women in the United States struggle to get pregnant or stay pregnant. There can be a great deal of stress and heartbreak during this process. Refrain from these avoidable mistakes that could negatively affect your conception goals.