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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Question about sperm

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Author Topic: Question about sperm
NoName
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I had a question about sperm that I am not 100 percent sure about. This may seem a little silly but are sperm anything like bacteria or viruses? I know that sperm won't make you sick or anything like that (unless an std is carried in it or you are allergic to it)but what I am asking is if it's lifespan is anything like that of bacteria or viruses? The only think I really know is that sperm die when the semen dries right? It seems like that alone should answer my question but say for instance you have a sample of semen and it is left to dry on a surface...after a certain amount of time it would dry right? Even if the sperm is technically dead, then would the dead cells be able to do anything whatsoever such as still cause a pregnancy or spread an std? Sorry if this is confusing and I am kinda confusing myself writing this. [Big Grin] What got me thinking is how bacteria can live on surfaces for a long time and even if you try to kill bacteria with a disinfectant, some of the bacteria continue living regardless. I was just wondering if sperm could ever do this too or if, when talking about body cells, do they die more easily? Thanks.
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Karybu
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Dead sperm cells can't do anything - once they're dead, they're dead, and they aren't going to reanimate and turn into zombie sperm that can cause pregnancy. [Razz] Sperm need pretty specific conditions to survive, whereas bacteria and viruses, although they have ideal conditions where they live best, can survive in a much wider range of temperatures, locations, etc.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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NoName
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The image of zombie sperm is quite hilarious! Okay, so once they are dead, they are not capable of causing pregnancy. Is the action of them drying the only thing that can kill sperm? I guess it makes sense for them to need a specific environment since they really only have one use and if they aren't being used for that, I suppose they would have a hard time surviving.
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Karybu
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Semen drying up isn't the only thing that will kill sperm: basically, anything that disrupts the environment they need to survive (the specific pH, temperature, etc. of semen) will kill them.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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NoName
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Okay, I see what you are saying. So they could still be warm and wet but still die inside of the semen if other things were to alter their environment. Is this why transferring semen from place to place kills it, because you are disrupting it?
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Heather
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Sperm needs semen. Let's say that, like, twenty times in a row. [Smile] Even with IVF? Sperm needs semen. More than say, peanut butter needs jelly. [Smile]

Sperm cells are also really very delicate. Their little tails, for instance, can "break" very easily. They don't do well, at all, with changes of temperature (this is why testicles do the things they do with temp changes).

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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NoName
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I think I understand. Thanks a bunch guys!
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