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How long do sperm live outside the body?

ANSWER

The answer depends on a number of things, but the most important is where the sperm are located.

On a dry surface, such as clothing or bedding, sperm are dead by the time the semen has dried. In water, such as a warm bath or hot tub, they'll likely live longer because they thrive in warm, wet places. But the odds that sperm in a tub of water will find their way inside a woman's body and cause her to get pregnant are extremely low.

From: Sperm FAQ WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

University of California, Santa Barbara, SexInfo Online: "How Long Can Sperm Live in Air? In a Bath?" "Semen;" and "Making Strong Sperm."

WomensHealth.gov: "Trying to Conceive."

Oakland University: "Dr. Lindemann's Sperm Facts."

University of Michigan Health System: "Male Infertility."

Lab Tests Online: "Semen Analysis."

MedlinePlus.gov: "Aging changes in the male reproductive system."

IVFMD.com: "New World Health Semen Analysis Parameters."

Reviewed by Trina Pagano on October 16, 2016

SOURCES:

University of California, Santa Barbara, SexInfo Online: "How Long Can Sperm Live in Air? In a Bath?" "Semen;" and "Making Strong Sperm."

WomensHealth.gov: "Trying to Conceive."

Oakland University: "Dr. Lindemann's Sperm Facts."

University of Michigan Health System: "Male Infertility."

Lab Tests Online: "Semen Analysis."

MedlinePlus.gov: "Aging changes in the male reproductive system."

IVFMD.com: "New World Health Semen Analysis Parameters."

Reviewed by Trina Pagano on October 16, 2016

NEXT QUESTION:

How long do sperm live if they are inside a woman's body?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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