Someone rightly said, “If you feel discouraged, remember that once you were a sperm that was the fastest and emerged as victorious among millions.”
Unlike women, who produce just a few hundred egg cells in their lives, men produce billions of sperm. Every ejaculation contains millions of them. They are all ejaculated with just one aim, to fertilize the egg. If this fertilization does not occur, they are all bound to die.
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Without active and fast-moving sperm, human life on Earth would not exist. Instead, it will come to a standstill. There is already much worry about the declining quality and quantity of sperm. Men have become less fertile, and in many nations, they are having less sex than they used to be. 
So, this article will explore the world of sperm, its viability, and its survivability.
Understanding Sperm Viability
The reasons for declining global male fertility lie both in declining sperm numbers and its quality. Sperm viability is one of the important tests for analyzing the male fertility level.
Conception is often perceived as a straightforward process, but reality presents a different picture. Many couples striving to have children are well aware of the challenges involved. In fact, for approximately one in four couples, the journey to conceive can be arduously difficult.
The Lifespan of Sperm Inside a Male’s Body
While the lifespan of sperm varies within the body, they generally remain viable for about two to two and a half months after production and storage within the male reproductive system.
However, it is worth remembering that if sperms remain stored in the body for a long, its quality degrades with time. The body has no mechanism for preventing the breakdown of genetic materials or countering reactive oxygen species. As a result, the quality of sperm begins to significantly diminish after about a week. 
Thus, even though sperm can technically survive within the body for several weeks, their quality starts to decline as early as a week post-production. Consequently, many sperm may become less viable, lose mobility, and die well before the end of their potential lifespan.
The Lifespan of Sperm Outside the Body
First, one must understand that sperm are not made to survive outside the body. Thus, they would not survive for more than a few minutes outside. Sperms die within a few seconds of coming in contact with air.
Sperm survivability is quite a complex topic that science has not fully understood. This topic is especially of interest to specialists engaged in artificial insemination.
For these specialists, poor survivability of sperm in artificial environments or during their prolonged storage is a significant issue. It must be remembered that the female reproductive tract is the only place that is quite good for supporting sperm survival. 
The Lifespan of Sperm Inside a Condom
As mentioned earlier, sperms do not survive well outside the female reproductive tract. Therefore, when it comes to the lifespan of sperm inside a condom, it depends on many factors.
For example, some condoms are lined with spermicides, and they would almost instantly kill sperm. In other condoms, they might survive for a few minutes. However, chances are slim that sperm would survive in a condom for any longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can sperm in a condom be used for successful artificial insemination?
Well, the chances are slim. Theoretically, it can be used for artificial insemination. However, it must be done pretty quickly. Chances are really slim that any sperm would survive after an hour or so.
What factors can impact the viability of sperm outside the body?
There are many things influencing sperm survivability like air exposure is bad for sperms, environmental toxins, direct sunlight, presence of other toxins, which may all quickly neutralize any sperms.
How long does sperm typically survive inside a condom?
This is an unexplored subject, but chances are slim that sperms would survive for more than a few minutes in a condom. However, if certain precautions are taken, like preventing air exposure and keeping condoms away from direct sunlight, some sperm may survive for a few hours.
Can the temperature affect the survival of sperm inside a condom?
Yes, sperm is more likely to survive in colder climates. It may survive for quite a long time in extremely cold conditions due to almost instant freezing. However, no one knows how many sperms would remain viable after de-freezing.
To sum up, sperm can stay viable for quite a long in a man’s body, though their quality starts declining after a week. They might also survive for up to 72 hours in a female reproductive tract, as it is made to ensure their survivability.
However, sperms are quite fragile and die almost immediately after contact with air and direct sunlight.
So, they are not likely to survive for long in condoms, except in some rare cases, like if the environmental temperature is too low, which may cause semen to freeze pretty quickly.
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- Vasan SS. Semen analysis and sperm function tests: How much to test? Indian J Urol. 2011;27(1):41-48. doi:10.4103/0970-1591.78424
- Cattelan S, Gasparini C. Male sperm storage impairs sperm quality in the zebrafish. Scientific reports. 2021;11(1):16689.
- Mahé C, Zlotkowska AM, Reynaud K, et al. Sperm migration, selection, survival, and fertilizing ability in the mammalian oviduct†. Biology of Reproduction. 2021;105(2):317-331. doi:10.1093/biolre/ioab105