Sex: A Long Time Coming

Fact: Sperm take longer to make than you ever imagined: 43 million years.

No, not quite 43 million years each – it takes a mere 60 days for a single sperm to fully develop.

The true scale of the problem of sex comes down to the sheer number of sperm required to raise the odds of just one reaching the egg. The average man will release 250 million sperm each time he ejaculates. If you made one sperm at a time, back to back, it would take 43 million years to produce that number.

Luckily, billions of sperm start development every day, so you can turn once-in-a-lifetime into 4-times-a-day, although sending that many children through university could be pretty crippling in 20 years. We aren’t the sexually advanced species we might like to imagine though; Rams produce nearly 100 billion sperm per ejaculate, and a male lion can mate up to 75 times in a single day during the mating season. Legend.

So, men everywhere are furiously producing sperm while flying planes, repairing the International Space Station and running the United States of America. Who said we can’t multitask?

‘Another one of Mr Shaunak’s Little Bites of Science’
Image under Creative Commons license, by WFHIT, unedited.


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