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Those Irritating Sperm Just Won't Ask for Directions

a blog by Claire, May 9, 2012

As if getting pregnant isn't hard enough, we now find out that sperm are just like men — they refuse to ask directions!

Scientists have long been curious why when men can ejaculate 300 million sperm during sex, such a small percentage actually manage to find their way to the female's uterus and even fewer find their way to the egg. Now a new study helps answer the question. British researchers have uncovered the fact that sperm have a lousy sense of direction. They avoid the "middle lane" of the female reproductive track and, instead, crawling (not swimming at a fast pace, mind you) along the channel walls. The little guys also struggle to turn sharp corners and crash into the walls and each other.

Just like little boys playing demolition derby.

The research was a joint study between the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham. The team injected sperm cells into hair-thin microchannels to study how they behaved in confined spaces. One of the researchers told the Daily Mail: "I couldn't resist a laugh the first time I saw sperm cells persistently swerving on tight turns and crashing head-on into the opposite wall."

Oh, the irony.

But seriously, the research could help in the discovery of new better fertility treatments. If scientists can figure out which sperm are best able to navigate their way through the cervix and fallopian tubes to the intended destination, it may lead to the development of new methods of selecting sperm for fertility treatment …

Or maybe a sperm GPS?

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