A close up representation of several sperm throughout their lifespan.

What’s the lifespan of sperm after ejaculation?

Even though you may have already taken sex-ed during middle school, before trying to conceive or while trying not to get pregnant, it’s important to brush up on a few basics.

What’s the lifespan of sperm after intercourse?

An important aspect of fertility and pregnancy is sperm, and the lifespan of sperm after ejaculation completely depends on where it’s living.

Inside the vagina

How long sperm live depends on where the sperm are deposited. Sperm inside the vagina can live within cervical mucus or the upper genital tract for three to five days, allowing fertilization to occur so long as the sperm are living. This is why the fertile window is six days long — it includes the five days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation. Once an egg is released, it is viable for 24 hours.

Outside of the body

Outside of the body, sperm can survive in semen for up to a few hours because they require precise conditions of warmth and humidity to survive. Sperm can be preserved for weeks when semen is stored at a lowered temperature, and for years when semen is frozen.

Read more
  • Landon Trost, MD. “How long do sperm live after ejaculation?” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, May 1 2015. Web.
  • Eileen Bailey. “How long does sperm live outside the body?” HealthCentral. Remedy Health Media, LLC., Jul 13 2016. Web.

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