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10 Interesting Facts About Sperm

Can you name another cell that's been played in a movie by Woody Allen?

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Bella Battle of the UK Sun reports that a hospital in China is using just such a machine to collect sperm samples from infertile men for testing. At the time of the story (September 2012) about 10 men a day had been using the machine for about six months (presumably not the same 10 men, coming back in disguise to give it another shot because they dug it) according to Doctor Zhu Guoxin, director of the urology department at Zhengzhou Central Hospital. Users can “adjust the machine’s frequency, speed, force and temperature,” Battle writes, and they have to wear condoms. 

 

Still…new awful job: cleaning out the Sperm Extractor. And now, because you’ve been very good,  here’s a video. Maybe they’ll get one at your gym. 

 

8. Spermallergic?

Having a bad reaction to the semen of the one you love can’t be a fun experience, but there is such a thing as being allergic to semen and to the semen of a specific person.  ABC News’ Susan Donaldson James describes a North Carolina couple’s quandary with  seminal plasma hypersensitivity. Some symptoms described in the story include itching, redness, burning, swelling, hives plus a pain like “a needle-like sticking in the vagina,” according to the University of Cincinnati’s Jonathan Bernstein, who treated the couple and who believes there are as many as 40,000 such cases in the U.S. Sometime the symptoms are confused with yeast and vaginal infections, James writes.

The treatment to desensitize the wife to the allergy included her undergoing “an intravaginal graded challenge using serial dilutions of her husband's seminal fluid, which were injected via syringe every 15-20 minutes over the course of two to three hours.” It helped and continued to improve and eventually their sex life got back to normal. A lot of people would have just gotten a new spouse…but that’s love for you. 

 

9. It’s on the street

We’ve talked about some interesting sperm delivery systems but the most eye-catching, bar none, is the Sperm Bullitt bicycle, a sperm-shaped bike built for Nordisk Cryobank a leading European sperm bank, used in Copenhagen,  as reported -- with pics -- on Copenhagenzine.com. The company was looking for an eco-friendly way to get its cargo around and yes, just like sperm need, it has a cooling system: “Inside the head of the giant sperm cell is a cooler compartment designed so that the metal containers with sperm donations can fit snugly inside and be kept cold.”

 

It would be the worst getaway vehicle in the world, wouldn’t it? But then… who steals sperm

 

10. Love roller-coaster

Most of us have seen those amazing animalcules and the semen they swim in make their grand entrance out of the body, but what you don’t see is the remarkably circuitous route it takes to get to that point. No kidding: men rather fantastically have what amounts to a  Krazy Straw in there.

 

It all starts in the testes which are made up of seminiferous tubules in which sperm are manufactured. HowStuffWorks.com’s Craig Freudenrich and Molly Edmonds put the rate of production at about 4 million per hour.

 

Once formed, sperm travels to the epididymus, a coiled tube outside the teste ( here’s a picture) where they mature and stay. After the penis is erect if there is “sufficient stimulation,” says  Medicine Plus (where you can see it all via animation) the sperm travel up, up, up, through the vas defrens which propel them with muscle contractions, then down again to the ampula and the seminal vesicles where they’re mixed with the first of the fluids that make up semen.  That fluid contains numerous substances including fructose, potassium, citric acid and the hormone-like substance  prostaglandins. This mix goes downward through the ejaculatory ducts past the  prostate gland where another milky fluid is added to the mix which helps neutralize the PH of the vagina, and the semen is finally semen. 

 
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