Overview of Sperm production
The big question is: How Is Sperm Produced?. To really understand how your everyday life can affect your sperm, you should understand how sperm is made in the first place.
A healthy man produces approximately 100 million viable sperm cells each day, although only a tiny few of those will ever go on to try fertilizing an egg. They include:
- the testes (testicles)
- the duct system: epididymis and vas deferens (sperm duct)
- the accessory glands: seminal vesicles and prostate gland
- the penis
What Is Reproduction?
Reproduction is the process by which organisms make more organisms like themselves. But even though the reproductive system is essential to keeping a species alive, unlike other body systems, it’s not essential to keeping an individual alive.
In the human reproductive process, two kinds of sex cells, or gametes (GAH-meetz), are involved. The male gamete, or sperm, and the female gamete, the egg or ovum, meet in the female’s reproductive system. When sperm fertilizes (meets) an egg, this fertilized egg is called a zygote (ZYE-goat). The zygote goes through a process of becoming an embryo and developing into a fetus.
Unlike a woman who will have around 400 mature eggs throughout a lifetime, which can be released from the follicles in the ovaries and potentially be fertilized, a healthy man will produce billions of sperm in his entire lifetime. All the sperm production and maturation take place in the lumen of the seminiferous tubules of the testis.
The testes are composed of numerous thin, tightly coiled tubules known as the seminiferous tubules. Within the walls of these tubules the sperm cells are produced and matures. Also, in the tubes, there are many different cells of which the most important is the Sertoli cells. These cells function to support and nourish the immature sperm cells by giving them nutrients and blood products.
Once the sperm cells are mature, they are transported to the Epididymis and later into Ductus deferens for temporary storage and where they here undergo another maturation process necessary for them to acquire the ability to be motile (swim).
Sperm cell production (Spermatogenesis)
The production of sperm is called spermatogenesis and is a tightly regulated, Sperm cell anatomy
The process is initiated by sex the hormones (FSH, LH, and Testosterone) and happens in several steps where an immature sperm cell slowly develops and divides, resulting in a fully mature sperm cell that can swim and fertilize an egg. The process is controlled by the sex hormones coming from the hypothalamus; a gland located in the brain. Figure 2 shows a process called spermiogenesis which is the final stage of the spermatogenesis, where the maturation of the spermatids into mature motile spermatozoa happens.
Where is sperm produced?
Sperm production occurs in the testicles. Upon reaching puberty, a man will produce millions of sperm cells every day, each measuring about 0.002 inches (0.05 millimeters) long.
How is sperm produced?
There is a system of tiny tubes in the testicles. These tubes, called the seminiferous tubules, house the germ cells that hormones — including testosterone, the male sex hormone — cause to turn into sperm. The germ cells divide and change until they resemble tadpoles with a head and short tail.
The tails push the sperm into a tube behind the testes called the epididymis. For about five weeks, the sperm travel through the epididymis, completing their development. Once out of the epididymis, the sperm move to the vas deferens.
When a man is stimulated for sexual activity, the sperm are mixed with seminal fluid — a whitish liquid produced by the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland — to form semen. As a result of the stimulation, the semen, which contains up to 500 million sperm, is pushed out of the penis (ejaculated) through the urethra.
How long does it take to produce new sperm?
The process of going from a germ cell to a mature sperm cell capable of egg fertilization takes around 2.5 months.
NOTE: Sperm are produced in the testicles and develop to maturity while traveling from the seminiferous tubules through the epididymis into the vas deferens.