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troubleinharlem's avatar

What is the average amount of possible babies in an average male ejaculate?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7978points) December 18th, 2010

Hear me out – is there an average amount of how many sperms (is that the right word?) there are in a set amount of ejaculate? As in, one drop (one inch x one inch) = 1,000 possible children.

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30 Answers

syz's avatar

There seem to be lots of answers to be found.

JilltheTooth's avatar

If i remember right from my infertility days, it’s something like 100 million.

Seelix's avatar

Wikipedia says that in order to cryopreserve sperm samples, there must be at least 5 million sperm cells per millilitre of semen.
It also says that “normal” is about 15 million per millilitre.

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iamthemob's avatar

Hmm…

Are you talking about this in terms of artificial insemination technology? Because if you’re asking in terms of sexual intercourse, it’s not going to be limited by sperm but (1) the maximum amount of eggs available for fertilization combined with (2) the woman’s maximum physical capacity to carry multiples to term.

Trillian's avatar

@troubleinharlem I guess that’s a good thing. Just a little lab tech humor.

DominicX's avatar

Millions. There are millions of sperm per ejaculation, of course, if that’s what you mean. :P

Don’t know any specific numbers and of course, I’m sure it varies from person to person and even from ejaculation to ejaculation, lol.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@iamthemob : No, just like… masturbating.
@syz : Thanks? I was asking because I’m on my brother’s laptop and it has a parental block.

iamthemob's avatar

Ahh. Then it’s going to be hundreds of millions.

iamthemob's avatar

Yeah – that’s why it’s good it’s not the deciding factor in reproduction.

We’re sort of like the ones sending out the spoors – we send out a shitload so that you know…at least one will probably make it.

wundayatta's avatar

Well, these days, we have ICSI—intra cytoplasmic sperm injection. If you get the right sperm, you can inject one sperm per egg, and probably one quarter to one half of them will turn into embryos. So, if you had 100 million sperm and 100 million eggs, you could probably get at least 25 million babies all with the same father.

Where you’d find 100 million eggs, though, I have no idea.

What is your purpose in asking this question?

bolwerk's avatar

@wundayatta: must sperm aren’t fit for fertilization though. Some are possibly just there to block sperm from other men’s loads.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Cool! Sperm wars!

troubleinharlem's avatar

@wundayatta : Curiosity. Why does it matter?

wundayatta's avatar

@troubleinharlem Yes, it matters. If you have a particular reason for asking, then answers can focus on that. If it’s just curiosity, we can talk about anything related to the issue and it won’t matter to you.

@bolwerk Do you know why they aren’t fit for fertilization? I mean, do some not carry the proper genetic material? If so, what portion are they? If they all contain the full set of genetic material, then all can potentially create viable embryos.

bolwerk's avatar

@wundayatta: possibly because they’re old, frail, infirm, mutated, or just plain shaped funny. Evolutionary reasons for this abound. The simplest explanation is that the male body is constantly producing sperm, and they simply have limited lifespans (hard to argue with).

Then there’s the possibility (I would argue likelihood) that different sperm have different functions, and not all are there to fertilize. More controversial reasons for why that is are discussed by various biologists who go into this in varying detail (Robin Baker’s Sperm Wars for instance) – I actually asked a question about sperm competition the other day.

And then the consequences might be controversial for varying reasons. For instance, masturbation may be partly about shedding old soldiers to make room for new ones. And masturbation may be stigmatized because it’s to every guy’s advantage to taunt masturbators while masturbating himself.

Either way, the whole matter is a rapidly changing field of study.

wundayatta's avatar

@bolwerk The reason this is of a bit of interest to me is that my children are all the product of immature sperm. Sperm with no tails. They dug the sperm out of me using epididymal aspiration. The take the sperm from the very beginning of the epididymous, which is where the clustered, since I don’t have the tube that carries them out (vas deferens?). Apparently, they finish maturing as they travel out towards the ejection platform.

So if immature sperm can make babies, maybe all sperm can? Or maybe they select only the strongest of the immature sperm. They have to pick up one sperm at a time in order to inject it into an egg, and they have to get it right, since there is a very limited egg supply. So maybe there are some visual clues that help identify the strong ones, even with immature sperm.

Not that any of this matters in terms of the question. Whatever the portion of viable sperm to all sperm, we can reduce our 100 million to say 10 million or 1 million. That’s still a lot of babies from one man’s single ejaculation. But this is a hypothetical, and this kind of speculation is pure silliness.

bolwerk's avatar

My understanding was it was the younger buggers who are stronger, and the older ones who server other functions (like blocking). Robin Baker argues there are egg-getters, fighters, and blockers (maybe others, don’t remember). I’m not sure I’ve seen that studied elsewhere though.

Nullo's avatar

None. Sperm, on their own, lack the ability to become people.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

Well, they say that one man can re-populate the entire world with just one ejaculation, so that gives you a pretty good idea about the number of potential babies from just one “nooky”. Pretty amazing, huh?

troubleinharlem's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES : I think it’s kind of creepy.
@Nullo : Which is why I said possible. (:

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@troubleinharlem Creepy? I think it’s a miracle from God that we men have the potential to make that many from just one ejaculation alone. Amazing, really.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES : I was thinking more of how it would be creepy if they all got into the same egg and the woman had to go through billions of pregnancies at the same time. I shudder when I see those microscope movies where they show them entering the egg, still. Dx

Nullo's avatar

@troubleinharlem Sadly, “possible” implies the possibility. There is none, sans the immediate availability of as many ova.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@troubleinharlem Beware all you women out there——those science fiction movies may one day be a reality!! Lol.

wundayatta's avatar

@troubleinharlem You do understand, I hope, that if a million sperm were to enter one egg (and it was possible for that to create a viable embryo), there would still be only one child. You’d need a million eggs for a million sperm (only one sperm can enter one egg, except for very unusual circumstances) to create a million babies.

The only way this could possibly happen is outside the woman’s body, using in vitro fertilization.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@wundayatta : Yeah, I understand that. ^^

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