Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Sperm: How long do they live after ejaculation?

How long do sperm live after ejaculation?

Updated: 05-05-2012

Answer

The life span of sperm after ejaculation depends on the circumstances.

Sperm ejaculated into a woman's vagina can live in a woman's cervical mucus or upper genital tract for three to five days. Fertilization is possible as long as the sperm remain alive. Sperm ejaculated outside the body might survive in semen — the fluid released during ejaculation — up to a few hours.

Sperm can be preserved for weeks when semen is stored at a lowered temperature — or years when semen is frozen.

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