Cumming Back to Campus “The Great Race” of Sperm Debunked – The Pacific Index

The 22-23 school year has officially started, and I welcome all of my readers back to campus! I have been writing this column for four years, and I have never talked strictly about sperm, until now.

We’ve all heard about the sperm rushing towards the egg in a wriggly competition to become a person-but this is a lie. Sperm move in a spiral motion via their flagellum (tail), but they don’t have any directional ability. Instead, they are moved along the reproductive tract via muscular contractions within the vaginal canal and uterus; once near the fallopian tubes, they move faster-the fluids they were transported in, giving them energy to do so-this is called hyperactivation. Speaking of fluids, most of us know the uterus to be a “hostile environment” for sperm, but new research suggests the opposite; vaginal and uterine secretions strip the sperm of their outer layers, making fertilization easier. The “hostile environment” refers to the structure and chemical makeup of the uterus, which is designed to weed out unwanted sperm, debris, and pathogens introduced during sex.

 During the time that the sperm are traveling through the reproductive tract, so is the egg. The ovary shoots the egg into the abdominal cavity (yes, not directly into the fallopian tube, it’s not connected at all, just floatin’ there), where the fallopian tube’s fingerlike fimbriae pick up the egg and transport it inside. Once released, the egg will be viable for 12-24 hours, and fertilization can happen inside the tube of the month or the uterus. As the egg makes its way toward the uterus, it attracts viable sperm via sperm chemoattractants.

In a recent study, eggs were found to be picky, and it makes sense; sperm *cum* in the millions, but there’s just one egg a month. It was shown that some eggs prefer sperm from certain men over others, and this doesn’t necessarily correlate with the person’s choice of partner but rather the genetic compatibility between people. This may partly explain rising infertility rates-more diverse, and rising populations mean people are finding less genetically compatible partners, statistically.

There ya have it, folks, “The Great Race” debunked. The memes were a lie, you didn’t technically win any races, the sperm that helped create you, simply put, just wasn’t garbage. So give some love to the eggs out there-they get shot out into oblivion just to deal with a *load* of nonsense once they reach the other side. — Haley Berger

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Haley Berger is a Pacific junior and public health major. She enjoys painting, listening to 1970’s R&B, and spending time with her beloved cat, Moose.