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Fertility of mammalian spermatozoa: its development and relativity

  • R. Yanagimachi (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 September 2008

Spermatozoa leaving the testis of normal animals are not ready to fertilise oocytes. They gain this ability while passing through the epididymis. It is interesting that spermatozoa of most animals take about 10 days to pass through the epididymis despite huge interspecies variations in the length of the epididymal tubule (e.g. some 30–50 m in large farm animals and about 1 m in the laboratory mouse) (Robaire & Hermo, 1988). The site where the spermatozoa begin to acquire fertilising capacity varies according to species, but it is generally the corpus epididymis or the proximal segment of the cauda epididymis where a large proportion of the spermatozoa become fertilisationcompetent. The distal segment of the cauda epididymis is the principal site for the storage of mature spermatozoa. Prolonged sojourn in the cauda epididymis (and vas deferens), however, could be detrimental to the spermatozoa.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

T.G. Cooper . 1993. The human epididymis: is it necessary? Int. J. Androl. 16, 245–50.

A. Kierszenbaum . 1994. Mammalian spermatogenesis in vivo and in vitro: a pertnership of spermatogenic and somatic cell lineages. Endocr. Rev. 15, 116–34.

A. Ogura , J. Matsuda .& R. Yanagimachi . 1994. Birth of normal Young after electrofusion of mouse oocytes with round sPermatids. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91, 7460–62.

G. Palermo , H. Jpris . et al. 1993. Sperm characteristics and outcome of human assisted fertilization by subzonal insemination and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Fertil. Steril. 59, 826–35.

P. Patrizio , S.J. Silber .& R.H. Asch . 1994. Correlation between epididymal length and fertilization rate in men with congenital absence of the vas deferens. Fertil. Steril. 61, 265–8.

S.J. Siler . 1988. Pregnancy caused by sperm from vasa efferenta. Fertil. Steril. 49, 373–5.

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