Science Discovers That Sperm Aren't So Much Swimmers As They Are Crawlers

Illustration for article titled Science Discovers That Sperm Aren't So Much Swimmers As They Are Crawlers

We've long been fed the image that sperm make their way to our eggs by wiggling their little tails and magically swimming up our reproductive tract to find the treasure at the end of the line. Well, new research is painting a decidedly less appealing picture of what actually happens when the little sperm get released into your lady parts. It turns out, according to the study's findings,

[S]perm rarely swim in the central part of the three-dimensional female tract, instead travelling along the walls, meaning in the body they are negotiating complex and convoluted channels filled with viscous fluids.


This means that what they're doing really more closely resembles crawling. So now you can have the pleasant image of a bunch of tiny eel-like creatures worming their way deeper into your abdomen. Yikes. What's more, while they're crawling blindly along these tiny channels in your "tract," they're constantly bumping into walls. One of the study's lead authors, Dr. Petr Denissenko, of the University of Warwick, described what this sperm quest looks like:

I couldn't resist a laugh the first time I saw sperm cells persistently swerving on tight turns and crashing head-on into the opposite wall of a micro-channel.

Ha. Nothing more hilarious than a sperm that won't stop and ask for directions—amirite, ladies? Anyway, the good news is that now that scientists have a better understanding of how sperm move, they'll be able to better determine which sperm have head shapes that maximize their chances of successfully navigating their way to an egg. That, in turn, could affect the way sperm are selected during fertility treatments and could impact the effectiveness of these treatments. Still, as useful as all that is, what we're left with for now is the image of a bunch of crazed bobbleheads clawing their way up into you lady business and ramming into things at every turn. Isn't life beautiful?

Sperm crawl and collide on way to egg, say scientists [EurekAlert]

Image via SSCREATIONS/Shutterstock.



This is gross. Incidentally I just discovered my omg that's gross dance is the same as this: