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Where Does Dead Sperm Go in the Female Body?

Once sperm are ejaculated and enter the female reproductive tract, they need help to survive and reach an egg. Semen contains sperm cells that are held in a sort of storage area called cervical “crypts.”

These can last for days, but only until the sperm are exposed to dry air or they get lost in the vagina. Then they die.

The Vagina

After a man ejaculates, the sperm travels through the vagina to the cervix and fallopian tubes. It takes about a minute for the sperm to reach the cervix and then another few minutes for the egg to be fertilized.

In the meantime, most sperm die. A sperm can survive only for up to 15 minutes outside the body, and even this depends on temperature and moisture. If the ejaculated semen is hot and dry, a sperm will die much faster than if it is warm and moist.

When the sperm reaches the cervix, it comes into contact with cervical mucus. This fluid does two important things: it protects sperm from the acidic environment of the vagina and it rejects sperm that are too far from an egg to be viable.

While this is a good thing, it also means that some sperm will be lost in the process of making it to the cervix – This information comes from the service This is why lubricating generously after sex is so important. However, wiping a woman’s vagina after unprotected sex can actually decrease her chances of pregnancy. This is because it causes a lot of sperm to be lost in the process and because some sperm may not make it to the egg. In addition, it can cause a variety of health issues like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.

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The Cervix

The cervix is a passage that separates the uterus and vagina. It opens and closes to allow fluids to flow in and out of the body, and it also widens during childbirth. Most cisgender women have a cervix, and some nonbinary people and men have one as well.

During the fertile window, the cervix is positioned high up in the body and soft, making it easier for sperm to get in for fertilization. The cervix also creates cervical mucus, which changes in consistency throughout the menstrual cycle. The ectocervix is the end of the cervix closest to the vagina, while the area where the ectocervix meets the endocervix is called the transformation zone.

Sperm that make it to the cervix can survive for up to five days, thanks to sperm-friendly cervical mucus and protective cervicitis (an area that is like a small tube). But if they reach air or a dry surface, they die quickly because they need moisture and warmth to live.

If a man gets sexually aroused, millions of sperm mix with seminal fluid to create semen, which he then ejaculates into his partner’s vagina. The sperm then heads to the fallopian tubes and uterus, where they can fertilize an egg. But if they miss the egg, or the egg has already been fertilized, the sperm will die in the fallopian tubes or the uterus.

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The Fallopian Tubes

Sperm that survive the cervix and make it to the fallopian tubes may fertilize an egg cell, but most of them die along the way. The female body is naturally acidic and hostile to sperm, which makes it tough for them to live long. In addition, the cervical mucus that protects the cervix also slows the sperm down.

The fallopian tube is a pair of long, narrow ducts that transport eggs from the ovary to the uterus. They open into the uterus through an area called the uterotubal junction, which is a twisty space where the ovary and the fallopian tube connect. The fallopian tube is lined with fingerlike projections referred to as fimbriae.

When a man has sex, millions of sperm mix with seminal fluid to form semen. Then the sperm travels up into the urethra to be released during ejaculation.

After ejaculation, the sperm that survived travel to the woman’s vagina, the fallopian tube, and the uterus. Unless they fertilize an egg, the sperm are dead.

Sperm that enter the uterus encounter a wall of white blood cells, which attack them. Many of them get stuck in the uterus’s twisty uterotubal junction and never reach the egg, while others die as they try to swim up the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. Only about 200 sperm reach the egg and fertilize it, so the majority of the sperm that enter the uterus are dead.

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The Uterus

While sperm can survive outside the body for fifteen to thirty minutes (in a hot tub, for instance) or even in cryogenic chambers, they’re pretty much dead once they leave a woman’s vagina. That’s because sperm need a warm, moist environment to survive. They can survive in the uterus for five days, but only if they’re not dried up. If they are dry, they can’t reach the egg and fertilize it.

When sperm enter the vagina, they come into contact with cervical mucus, which does two things: protects them from the acidity of the vagina and rejects any sperm whose shape or motility is unfit for the journey up to the fallopian tubes and uterus. The mucus also thins around the time of ovulation, allowing sperm to move more easily.

The fastest swimming sperm reach the fallopian tubes within minutes of ejaculation, but most of them don’t make it to the uterus. This is because most sperm aren’t fertile. It takes the right combination of timing, sex, and cervical mucus for even one sperm to reach an egg and cause pregnancy. That’s why many women are surprised to find they can have sex and not get pregnant, even if their partner was able to fertilize the egg. The chances are just too low.