Does Cold Water Kill Sperm?

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Sperm has a probability of dying within seconds when exposed to water, despite being cold or hot. Since the environment to which it’s exposed plays an important role in its lifespan, it may vary at what point your sperm can get killed. For instance, while water can kill your sperm within a few seconds, frozen sperm in controlled environments can last for many years. Overly hot and cold temperatures can harm your sperm count and hinder your sperm motility, meaning; they can be equally dangerous. You can boost your sperm count by taking Vitamins C and D, regular exercise, and even avoiding smoking and alcohol.

Sperm are tiny male reproductive cells that are usually present when an adult male ejaculates. The testicles are the male reproductive organs that create this specimen.

When we talk of male fertility, the sperm count denotes the number of sperm cells present in the male ejaculate, while sperm motility denotes the ability of the sperm to swim towards the egg in reproduction.

Although sperm is produced in mass numbers, due to its delicateness, it can die easily, especially when exposed to the outside environment, which is why it’s important to know what exact temperatures and substances may kill sperm.

Can sperm die when exposed to cold water? What factors can affect the lifespan and motility of your sperm? What is the optimum temperature for sperm production? What harmful effects can either hot or cold temperatures pose on your sperm count? How to warm up your body in case of frostbite or hypothermic conditions? How else can you boost your sperm count and overall fertility?

Will sperm die in cold water and why?

When sperm leaves your body outside its desired environment, it’s pretty much quickly disabled and almost immediately dies.

So, when washed with water, despite it being cold or warm, sperm will die as it’s simply a single-cell organism with a very limited life span.

What you need to know on this matter is that sperm do not last for long when it’s not within the warm, moist environment that the male and female genital tract provides. So when you wash or even dilute with soap and water, they basically cannot function at all any longer and die out.

Sperm motility and its lifespan depending on various factors

If you’re wondering what can and cannot kill sperm, this table will help you understand the exact lifespan of sperm depending on various possibilities.

Type of exposureLife-span of sperm
Washed sperm in an incubator (for procedures like vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination)About 72 hours
Sperm ejaculated into a woman5 days
Sperm ejaculated in to an outside environmentDies almost immediately
Frozen sperm in a controlled environmentFor years
Sperm exposed to hot tub or bathtubWithin seconds depending on the water temperature and acidity
Sperm ejaculated outside at proper room temperature15–30 minutes under proper room temperatures
The Life Span of Sperm

These durations may vary as there may be other factors weighing into the condition of the sperm.

What is the optimum temperature for sperm production?

The optimum temperature for sperm production is 93.2 ºF or 34 ºC, which is lower than your average body temperature of 98.6 ºF or 37 ºC. Sperm, being a highly delicate substance, can be harmed with exposure to excess heat and cold.

While cold temperatures can negatively impact good sperm production, high temperatures like when taking a hot shower will harm the quality of your sperm and can affect your sperm count.

Testicular cooling by using ice packs is quite popular among men in attempting to increase their fertility.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough clinical trials to investigate this cooling method and its impact on fertility. A 2013 study has revealed that a large number of men have found this method to be helpful.

Cold water, cold temperature, and their harmful effects on sperm and your body

Although slightly cold temperatures are suitable for sperm production, excess cold can expose your testicles to a hypothermic condition of frostbite, especially when the temperature drops to -15 ºC.

You can quickly notice this if you start feeling your thighs are showing signs of frostbite. If your skin color is turning whiteish or wax-like, if you feel a numbness along your thighs or even a certain tingling feeling in your skin, it could be your body telling you that you’re getting too cold.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, your sperm production is likely getting affected, and not in a good way.

Exposure to ice-cold baths and staying in an overall cold temperature can lead to this, so it’s best to know how to quickly start warming up. Then, in 3 simple steps, you can help your body return to its normal temperature.

  1. Layers and layers of clothing – You will need a lot of clothing to help warm you up while making sure that it’s not too tight as well.
  2. Close your legs and sit down – Your thighs can automatically help you to warm your testicles by preventing the cold air from reaching them.
  3. Taking a hot bath – If you’re already exposed to a cold temperature, you should get a warm water bath, while making sure it’s not too hot as well since that too can affect the quality of your sperm.

How to boost the sperm count for improved male fertility?

2001 study conducted by The National Library of Medicine reveals that one in every 3 cases of infertility complaints by couples is because of fertility issues in the male partner alone.

This is why it’s essential to make sure your habits or daily schedule don’t affect your sperm count negatively.

To go the extra mile, you could even take precautionary steps to boost your fertility.

  1. Take Vitamin C – A 2006 study by the National Library of Medicine shows that taking vitamin C supplements 2 times per day for 2 months among a group of infertile men, increased their sperm motility by 92% and their sperm count even by 100%, which clearly shows its success. Vitamin D is also known to have a connection with good sperm motility, but substantial evidence doesn’t exist on this.
  2. Daily Exercise – A 2004 medical study also shows that men who regularly exercise produce higher testosterone levels and better semen quality than men who do not.
  3. Stress management – Believe it or not, prolonged stress levels can most definitely harm your sexual satisfaction and impact your fertility levels negatively as proven by a 2010 research study.
  4. Zinc mineral – If your fertility is low, chances are that you’re low on zinc. You can easily fix this by taking zinc supplements which have proven to increase your sperm count and testosterone levels.

Apart from these, you may have to keep your habits of taking marijuana, cocaine, nicotine, and steroids in check.

Bad habits like smoking and high-fat diets can mutilate your blood vessels, hindering your blood flow and eventually leading to impotence. Even too much alcohol has been proven to cause infertility as it lowers your testosterone levels.


What is spermicide, and does it kill sperm?

Spermicides are a type of birth control independent from condoms and can take the form of a cream, gel, or suppository. These don’t exactly kill sperm, but it does prevent your semen from moving around, so it can lower your sperm motility instead.

How long does it take for sperm to build back up after ejaculating?

For your testicles to completely start from the beginning to produce new sperm after ejaculating, it would take about 64-70 days. This process is called spermatogenesis, at the end of which your testicles build up about 8 billion sperm.

Can you get pregnant from a toilet seat with sperm on it?

Semen cannot survive on such a surface as the external environment can easily kill sperm. This means you are highly unlikely to become pregnant simply by having physical contact with the toilet.


What you need to know about sperm and its lifespan is that its survival rate completely depends on the environment. However, if it dries down, then it is no longer viable.

While you can take many steps to increase your sperm count and its motility, there are also many habits that you can stay away from to protect your sperm.

While the actual sperm count may depend from person to person, the average count is between 40 million and 300 million sperm per milliliter. If you want to be extra careful, you can always conduct a medical test of a semen analysis to ensure your count is adequate.

Either way, as long as you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle, taking your vitamins, and reducing stress, you’ll most likely have nothing to worry about.

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Kavisha Rodrigo
I'm a sports person that enjoys researching into pushing the limitations of the human body. When it comes to health, I'm a big fan of working out and staying healthy. For hobbies, I'm a big fan of Pokemon and Coldplay.

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