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THE MATURE SPERM
IN THE EPIDIDYMIS

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WILL PASS OUT OF THE MAN'S BODY
THROUGH EJACULATION

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200 TO 300 MILLION AT A TIME

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OR THEY WILL EVENTUALLY DIE
AND BE REABSORBED.

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THESE SPERM CARRY
THE MAN'S GENETIC MATERIAL

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AND THEY ARE FULLY MATURE.

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BUT THEY ARE NOT YET ABLE
TO FERTILIZE A WOMAN'S EGG.

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THEY DO NOT ATTAIN THAT ABILITY

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UNTIL THEY ARE ACTUALLY FAR UP
INSIDE THE WOMAN'S BODY.

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THEY MAY STAY IN THE EPIDIDYMIS

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THE BAG-LIKE STRUCTURE
ON THE LEFT

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FOR SEVERAL WEEKS.

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WHILE HERE, THEY DEVELOP
THE ABILITY TO SWIM.

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A SPERM PROPELS ITSELF

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BY MEANS OF A LONG TAIL,
A FLAGELLUM

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WHICH LASHES VIGOROUSLY
FROM SIDE TO SIDE.

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THIS EXTRAORDINARY ACTIVITY
HAS BUT A SINGLE PURPOSE:

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TO DELIVER THE GENETIC MATERIAL
IN THE SPERM'S HEAD

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QUICKLY AND PRECISELY
TO THE WOMAN'S EGG.

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ON THE TIP OF THE SPERM'S HEAD
IS A LAYER OF ENZYMES

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AND ENZYME INHIBITORS.

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THE INHIBITORS
PRESERVE THE ENZYMES

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WHICH WILL BE NEEDED LATER

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TO PENETRATE
THE SURFACE OF THE EGG.

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THIS IS HOW THE SPERM'S HEAD
LOOKS WITHOUT ITS ENZYME CAP.

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THE MATERIAL OF THE HEAD
ITSELF IS LOADED

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WITH THE ACTUAL
GENETIC INFORMATION

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WHICH WILL BE TRANSMITTED
TO THE EGG.

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THESE ARE THE STRANDS OF DNA

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WHICH WILL BE TRANSFORMED
INTO CHROMOSOMES.

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THIS IS ONE OF
THE MANY FUEL PACKETS

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ARRANGED ALONG
THE MIDPIECE OF THE SPERM.

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THE FUEL CONSISTS OF SUGARS

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WHICH IS CONVERTED INTO ENERGY
FOR THE SPERM'S LOCOMOTION.

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THE PROPULSION SYSTEM
OF THE SPERM'S TAIL

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IS MADE UP OF A BUNDLE
OF CORDS, OR FILAMENTS.

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THE FILAMENTS ARE COVERED
WITH THOUSANDS OF TINY HOOKS.

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AS THE HOOKS INTERMESH,
THE WHOLE BUNDLE BEGINS TO BEND

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AND THE TAILS OF THE SPERM
BEGIN TO WHIP AROUND LIKE THIS.

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IT IS A PRIMITIVE, BUT HIGHLY
EFFICIENT, SYSTEM OF PROPULSION.

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THE SYSTEM DOES NOT
FUNCTION PERFECTLY EVERY TIME.

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ON THE AVERAGE, UP TO 20%
OF A NORMAL MAN'S SPERM

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ARE DEFORMED
OR IMPERFECT IN SOME WAY.

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PERHAPS ONE REASON WHY A MAN
PRODUCES SO VERY MANY SPERM

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IS THAT SO VERY MANY THINGS
CAN GO WRONG

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WITH THE SPERM THEMSELVES.

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THEY MAY HAVE TWO TAILS,
LIKE THIS ONE.

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SOME EVEN HAVE THREE TAILS.
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IN ANOTHER COMMON DEFORMITY,
THE HEADS OF THESE SPERM

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APPEAR TO BE NEARLY SEVERED
FROM THEIR TAILS.

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THIS SPERM HAS BEEN ATTACKED
BY BACTERIA.

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AND THIS ONE MAY HAVE
BEEN PRODUCED TOO RAPIDLY.

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IT WILL NEVER COMPLETE
ITS DEVELOPMENT.

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WHITE BLOOD CORPUSCLES,
THE LARGE, ROUND CELLS

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ARE OFTEN FOUND TOGETHER
WITH DEFECTIVE SPERM.

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THEIR PRESENCE INDICATES
THE LIKELIHOOD

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OF INFECTION, FEVER
OR EVEN A COMMON COLD.

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MOST OF THESE SPERM DEFORMITIES
COULD HAVE BEEN CAUSED

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BY JUST A SLIGHT ELEVATION

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IN THE TEMPERATURE
OF THE TESTICLES.

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ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS, TOO,
OFTEN DAMAGE SPERM PRODUCTION.

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OVERCROWDING...

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STRESS...

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SMOKING...

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CHEMICAL POLLUTION
OF AIR AND WATER...

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OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS...

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RADIATION...

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POOR NUTRITION...

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ALL PART OF MODERN LIFE.

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EVEN OUR MODERN CLOTHING
MAY AFFECT SPERM PRODUCTION.

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TIGHT BLUE JEANS, FOR EXAMPLE

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HOLD THE TESTICLES
UP CLOSE TO THE BODY

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PERHAPS RAISING
THEIR TEMPERATURE

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THOSE FEW CRITICAL DEGREES.

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BUT IN SPITE OF SUCH OBSTACLES

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HUMAN BEINGS HAVE BEEN
SUCCESSFULLY REPRODUCING

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FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS.

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SINCE THE FIRST ORGANISMS
SWAM IN THE SEA

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THE CYCLE OF LIFE
HAS BEEN CONTINUOUS

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FUELED BY THE NEED
AND THE DRIVE TO REPRODUCE.

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AMONG HUMAN BEINGS

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THAT DRIVE IS INTIMATELY LINKED
WITH ATTRACTION AND DESIRE.

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AFFECTION AND ROMANTIC LOVE MAY
INITIATE THE DANCE OF COURTSHIP

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WHICH MAY LEAD TO CONCEPTION.

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SEXUALITY, AFFECTION
AND TENDERNESS
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CAN ALL BE PART OF
THE COMPLEX RITUALS OF MATING.

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BUT DESIRE AND PHYSICAL LOVE

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POSSESS A SILENT LANGUAGE
ALL THEIR OWN

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THAT SIGNAL PARTNERS'
READINESS TO EACH OTHER.

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THE EYES ARE PART
OF THAT SILENT LANGUAGE.

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VISUAL IMPRESSIONS STIMULATE
AND EXCITE SPECIAL NERVE CELLS

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IN THE SEXUAL AREAS
THROUGHOUT THE BODY.

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THE SKIN, TOO, IS PART
OF THE SILENT LANGUAGE.

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IT IS AMAZINGLY SENSITIVE
AND RESPONSIVE TO THE TOUCH.

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IT CONTAINS MILLIONS
OF THESE SENSORY RECEPTORS

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WHICH WHEN STIMULATED

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DIRECT MESSAGES
OF SEXUAL AROUSAL TO THE BRAIN.
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MANY OF THESE ARE CONCENTRATED

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IN THE BODY'S MOST RESPONSIVE
AREAS: THE EROGENOUS ZONES.

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ONE OF THESE, THE MAN'S PENIS

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IS DENSELY PACKED
WITH SENSORY RECEPTORS--

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HERE SEEN AT
ENORMOUS MAGNIFICATION.

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THEY RELAY MESSAGES OF
SEXUAL STIMULATION TO THE BRAIN

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WHICH TRIGGERS THE COMPLEX
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

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LEADING UP TO EJACULATION.

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THE LENGTH OF THE PENIS IS
MADE UP OF MANY SMALL CAVITIES

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CALLED ERECTILE TISSUE.

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WHEN A MAN IS SEXUALLY AROUSED,
THE SIGNALS FROM THE BRAIN

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CAUSE THESE ERECTILE TISSUES
TO BECOME ENGORGED WITH BLOOD.
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AS WE CAN SEE IN THESE IMAGES
FROM THE THERMAL CAMERA

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THE SUDDEN FLOW OF BLOOD TO THE
PENIS RAISES ITS TEMPERATURE.

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THE MAN'S BLOOD PRESSURE,
HEARTBEAT

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AND RESPIRATION INCREASE.

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AND THE BLOOD CAUSES THE PENIS
TO BECOME ERECT AND ELONGATED

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SO THAT SPERM CAN BE MOST EASILY
DELIVERED TO THE WOMAN'S EGG.

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IN THE EPIDIDYMIS, THE HUNDREDS
OF MILLIONS OF WAITING SPERM

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WHICH WILL SOON BE EXPELLED
FROM THE MAN'S BODY

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ACCUMULATE IN A MASS.

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AS SEXUAL AROUSAL
REACHES ITS PEAK

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THE ENTIRE MALE SEXUAL SYSTEM
MUST FUNCTION PERFECTLY

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FOR EJACULATION TO TAKE PLACE.
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COWPER'S GLAND...

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PROSTATE...

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SEMINAL VESICLES...

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AND EPIDIDYMIS.

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THIS IS THE ACTUAL JOURNEY
MADE BY THE SPERM.

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AT THE CLIMAX OF SEXUAL AROUSAL

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THE MAN'S NERVOUS
SYSTEM TRIGGERS

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RAPID INVOLUNTARY CONTRACTIONS
OF THE MUSCLES

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IN THE WALLS OF THE EPIDIDYMIS.

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THESE PROPEL THE SPERM
UP INTO THE MAN'S BODY

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ALONG THIS TUNNEL-LIKE TUBE,
THE VAS DEFERENS.

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THE SPERM THEMSELVES
TRAVEL THE DISTANCE--

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A LITTLE OVER 12 INCHES--
IN ONLY A FEW SECONDS.

135
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THE SEMINAL VESICLES
RELEASE NOURISHING FRUCTOSE

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WHICH BLENDS WITH THE SPERM
AS THEY PASS BY.

137
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THEY MIX WITH
THE PROSTATE FLUID.

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THE BLENDED SEMEN
APPROACHES THE URETHRA.

139
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ITS TOTAL VOLUME IS ACTUALLY
ABOUT ONE HALF A TEASPOON.

140
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THIS IS THE LAST LEG
OF THE JOURNEY.

141
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THE SEMEN CONTAINING THE SPERM
IS FORCED OUT THROUGH THE PENIS

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BY THE MAN'S
MUSCLE CONTRACTIONS.

143
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AND AT LAST, IT IS EJACULATED
INTO THE WOMAN'S VAGINA.

144
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AS THE SEMEN ENTERS
THE WOMAN'S BODY

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IT IMMEDIATELY SLOWS DOWN
AND COAGULATES.
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PERHAPS IT BECOMES THICKER

147
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TO ENSURE THAT MOST OF THE SPERM
STAY WITHIN THE VAGINA

148
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OR PERHAPS THE COAGULATION
IS A KIND OF DEFENSE

149
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FOR THE ENVIRONMENT IN
THE VAGINA IS EXTREMELY ACID.

150
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THE ACIDITY PROTECTS THE WOMAN
AGAINST BACTERIA AND INFECTIONS

151
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BUT IT IS ALSO DANGEROUSLY
INHOSPITABLE TO THE SPERM.

152
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NEARLY ONE-QUARTER OF THEM
WILL DIE ALMOST IMMEDIATELY.

153
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ABOUT 20 MINUTES
AFTER EJACULATION

154
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THE SEMEN BECOMES FLUID AGAIN.

155
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THE SURVIVING SPERM
BECOME VIGOROUSLY ACTIVE

156
00:12:25,211 --> 00:12:28,280
SWIMMING RAPIDLY AGAINST
THE DOWNWARD CURRENTS

157
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IN THE WOMAN'S BODY.
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THERE IS GREAT URGENCY

159
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FOR THE SPERM WILL REMAIN
VIABLE-- ABLE TO FERTILIZE--

160
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FOR ONLY 28 TO 48 HOURS.

161
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THIS IS THE SOUND MADE
BY THOUSANDS OF ACTIVE SPERM.

162
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(<i> rumbling</i> )

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THE SPERM'S GREAT ACTIVITY
HAS BUT ONE GOAL:

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TO FIND AND FERTILIZE THE EGG.

165
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THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM
THAT SUCCESS MIGHT SEEM ASSURED

166
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BUT THE BARRIERS, TOO,
ARE NUMEROUS.

167
00:13:24,869 --> 00:13:27,572
THE HIGH PERCENTAGE
OF DEFECTIVE SPERM

168
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HAS ALREADY LOWERED THE ODDS.

169
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SO HAS THE VAGINA'S
HOSTILE, ACID ENVIRONMENT.

170
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AND THE WOMAN'S OWN DEFENSE
SYSTEM ATTACKS THE SPERM.

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THEY ARE UNWELCOME CELLS
FROM ANOTHER ORGANISM

172
00:14:03,475 --> 00:14:05,343
AND THEY ARE POTENTIAL ENEMIES.

173
00:14:07,913 --> 00:14:11,583
HER DEFENSE CELLS AGGRESSIVELY
PROTECT HER FROM THE INVADERS

174
00:14:11,650 --> 00:14:12,884
BY DESTROYING THEM.

175
00:14:27,099 --> 00:14:30,235
THE SPERM ARE PROGRAMMED
TO SEEK THE EGG

176
00:14:30,302 --> 00:14:33,105
BUT SOME OF THEM
TRY TO FERTILIZE

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THE FIRST ROUND OBJECT
THEY FIND--

178
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IN THIS CASE,
AN ORDINARY BODY CELL.

179
00:14:44,249 --> 00:14:46,551
STILL, IN SPITE OF THE OBSTACLES

180
00:14:46,585 --> 00:14:48,720
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF SPERM

181
00:14:48,754 --> 00:14:51,323
MAKE THEIR WAY
UP THROUGH THE VAGINA

182
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TO THE CERVIX--
THE MOUTH OF THE UTERUS--

183
00:14:54,426 --> 00:14:56,829
WHICH WILL LEAD TO
THE FALLOPIAN TUBES AND THE EGG.

184
00:15:10,108 --> 00:15:13,678
THE CERVIX SECRETES STRANDS
OF A SPECIAL FLUID PROTEIN

185
00:15:13,745 --> 00:15:15,748
CALLED MUCIN.

186
00:15:17,782 --> 00:15:20,819
DURING OVULATION,
IT IS VERY LIQUID

187
00:15:20,853 --> 00:15:23,287
AND EASY FOR THE SPERM
TO SWIM IN.

188
00:15:30,295 --> 00:15:33,766
THE STRANDS OF MUCIN
PROVIDE TINY CHANNELS

189
00:15:33,832 --> 00:15:37,369
LESS THAN 1/100th
OF A MILLIMETER WIDE

190
00:15:37,435 --> 00:15:40,505
DIRECTING THE SPERM
CLOSER TO THEIR OBJECTIVE.

191
00:15:45,477 --> 00:15:49,180
BUT MANY OF THEM NEVER FIND
THE STRANDS OF MUCIN

192
00:15:49,247 --> 00:15:51,583
AND THEY WILL DIE
IN THE VAGINA.

193
00:15:54,118 --> 00:15:56,555
THOSE THAT SURVIVE

194
00:15:56,621 --> 00:15:59,223
WILL SWIM UP THE MUCIN CHANNELS
TOWARD THE UTERUS.

195
00:16:01,393 --> 00:16:03,328
THEY SWIM IN DENSE BUNCHES.

196
00:16:05,497 --> 00:16:08,466
THE OUTER ONES
MAY PROTECT THE INNER ONES

197
00:16:08,533 --> 00:16:11,069
FROM THE WOMAN'S ACIDITY
AND DEFENSE SYSTEMS.

198
00:16:17,075 --> 00:16:19,477
ONCE INSIDE THE CERVIX

199
00:16:19,544 --> 00:16:22,747
THE SPERM CONTINUE
ON THEIR JOURNEY.

200
00:16:22,815 --> 00:16:25,283
SOME REMAIN HERE

201
00:16:25,350 --> 00:16:27,786
PERHAPS TO PROVIDE A BACKUP
FOR THOSE THAT CONTINUE ON.

202
00:16:32,657 --> 00:16:36,528
THE REST PROCEED UP
THROUGH THE CAVITY OF THE UTERUS

203
00:16:36,595 --> 00:16:37,762
IN SEARCH OF THE EGG.

204
00:16:47,505 --> 00:16:51,209
THEIR NUMBER IS
NOTICEABLY REDUCED.

205
00:17:01,920 --> 00:17:04,822
HERE, FROM INSIDE THE UTERUS

206
00:17:04,888 --> 00:17:07,692
WE SEE THE OPENINGS
TO THE TWO FALLOPIAN TUBES.
207
00:17:12,964 --> 00:17:15,700
THE SPERM SWIM TOWARD THEM.

208
00:17:20,137 --> 00:17:24,842
ONE LEADS TO THE WAITING EGG...

209
00:17:24,910 --> 00:17:27,946
THE OTHER TO AN EMPTY TUBE.

210
00:17:33,118 --> 00:17:36,154
ONLY HALF OF THE FEW
REMAINING SPERM

211
00:17:36,221 --> 00:17:39,158
WILL SWIM UP THE TUBE
WHICH HOLDS THE EGG.

212
00:18:00,945 --> 00:18:04,649
THE TUBES ARE LINED
WITH MILLIONS OF TINY CILIA--

213
00:18:04,716 --> 00:18:07,685
THE SAME CILIA WHICH
HELPED DRAW THE EGG

214
00:18:07,752 --> 00:18:10,956
FROM THE OVARY TOWARD THE UTERUS
AT OVULATION.

215
00:18:11,022 --> 00:18:13,258
THESE CILIA SWAY CONSTANTLY

216
00:18:13,325 --> 00:18:16,095
CREATING A GENTLE
DOWNWARD CURRENT

217
00:18:16,161 --> 00:18:18,930
THAT THE SPERM
MUST SWIM AGAINST.

218
00:18:29,608 --> 00:18:31,777
SOME SPERM GET STUCK

219
00:18:31,843 --> 00:18:34,546
IN AMONG THE CELLS
LINING THE WALLS OF THE TUBE.

220
00:18:38,383 --> 00:18:41,186
OTHERS LOSE THEIR
SENSE OF DIRECTION.

221
00:18:49,094 --> 00:18:52,330
DURING THIS PART OF
THE SPERM'S JOURNEY

222
00:18:52,397 --> 00:18:56,634
THE LAYER OF ENZYME INHIBITORS
AT THE TIPS OF THEIR HEADS

223
00:18:56,701 --> 00:19:00,438
IS SLOWLY BEING WORN AWAY.

224
00:19:00,505 --> 00:19:04,609
THE SPERM ARE FULLY CAPACITATED
AND ABLE TO FERTILIZE THE EGG

225
00:19:04,676 --> 00:19:06,610
IF THEY EVER ENCOUNTER IT.

226
00:19:19,957 --> 00:19:25,196
OF THE 200 MILLION SPERM
THAT BEGIN THIS LONG JOURNEY

227
00:19:25,263 --> 00:19:27,799
ONLY ABOUT 50
EVER REACH THE EGG.

228
00:19:32,971 --> 00:19:37,643
THE EGG IS SURROUNDED BY TWO
LAYERS OF THE NUTRITIVE CELLS

229
00:19:37,709 --> 00:19:41,346
WHICH HAVE NOURISHED IT ON ITS
JOURNEY IN THE FALLOPIAN TUBE.

230
00:19:45,050 --> 00:19:48,653
THE SPERM IMMEDIATELY RELEASE
THEIR DIGESTIVE ENZYMES
231
00:19:48,720 --> 00:19:52,657
TO BREAK THROUGH THESE
PROTECTIVE NUTRITIVE LAYERS

232
00:19:52,724 --> 00:19:54,860
IN ORDER TO REACH
THE EGG ITSELF.

233
00:19:58,163 --> 00:20:02,200
AT BEST, ONLY ONE
WILL EVENTUALLY ENTER

234
00:20:02,267 --> 00:20:04,268
AND FERTILIZE THE EGG.

235
00:20:10,375 --> 00:20:13,611
THE JOINT FORCE
OF THEIR EXERTIONS

236
00:20:13,645 --> 00:20:16,715
STARTS THE EGG ROLLING AROUND

237
00:20:16,781 --> 00:20:18,983
LIKE A MYSTERIOUS
CELESTIAL BODY.