The Sperm Cell: An Overview

You may pretty much have an idea where babies come from. (No, they're not from the stork!) To put it bluntly, you need a sperm cell and egg cell to make a baby. During sexual intercourse, a man's sperm, which is produced by the testes (testicles), is released into a woman's cervix, which "swims" to the fallopian tube. From the millions of sperm cells, one penetrates the egg in a process called fertilization. From there, a single life begins.

But where does the sperm come from? There are millions of sperm produced by your testes (testicles) everyday. Sperm cells undergo the natural cell division which inevitably leads to its maturation. Half of the sperm carries a Y chromosome (inherited from your dad) and an X chromosome (inherited from your mom). If a X-carrying sperm fertilizes the woman's egg, the result is a baby girl. If on the other hand, it's the Y-carrying sperm which fertilized the egg, then it's a baby boy.

During ejaculation, sperm is pumped into the man's vas deferens where fructose, seminal fluids, and other chemicals are secreted. Your sperm plus other seminal fluids (semen) hurries past the bladder through the urethra and out of your penis.

In order for the sperm to enter the woman's cervix, you need to experience erection, orgasm, and ejaculation. An erection takes place when your penis is stimulated or when you have an erotic thought. There is a sudden rush of blood to the erectile tissue chambers in the penis. This, in turn, engorges the penis making it hardened, enlarged and elevated.

With continued stimulation, orgasm and ejaculation ensues. Orgasm, known as the sexual climax, is a pleasurable emotional or psychological response that accompanies ejaculation. There are two stages of orgasm: the first one, called the ejaculatory inevitability, takes place two to four seconds before ejaculation. During these crucial seconds, you may be aware that you are about to "come," and you could not do anything to control it. Your seminal vesicles and your prostrate gland begin to throb. The second stage of orgasm takes place when you involuntarily ejaculate semen in convulsive surges. On average, one teaspoon (2-15 milliliters) of semen is ejaculated containing of 40 to 150 million sperm! The "first squirt" typically contains the largest amount of sperm.

Afterwards, you go through a recovery period where you cannot experience another orgasm. This may last several minutes and sometimes for hours.

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