I'm interested in the timing of events during human spermatogenesis, ideally with some references I can build off of. Specifically, I am trying to pin down the number of days for:

  • Spermatogenesis, beginning to end (I have come across 65, 75, and 100).
  • Leptotene stage
  • Zygotene stage
  • Pachytene stage
  • Spermatozoa maturation and histone-protamine transition
  • Time in epididymis (I have come across 12 days)

Again, I want to know the timing of these events in humans, not mice or rats. Specifically, I am trying to pin down the major epigenetic reprogramming stages, with a focus on those occurring in mature males.


1 Answer 1


Spermatogenesis (Beginning to end):

64 +- 8 days (range 42 to 76)

There is considerable individual variation. This includes time in epididymis.

Amann 2008 argue for 74 days based on early study by Clermont 1972. Also argue that biopsies are still needed on top of radiolabelling.


Calculated from Amann 2008, Figure 1 using percent time in 16 day cycles.


26.5 days (~70 days total - 26.5 days = ~ 43.5 days pre-ejaculation/conception)


31.2 days (~70 days total - 31.2 days = ~ 38.8 days pre-ejaculation/conception)


32 days (~70 days total - 32.0 days = ~ 38 days pre-ejaculation/conception)

Histone-Protamine transfer:

68.8 days (~70 days total - 68.8 = ~2 days pre-ejaculation). 

The resolution of the data doesn’t really let us get at Epididymis vs. histone-protamine transfer, though.

Time in the Epidymis:

10-14 days. 


Misell LM, Holochwost D, Boban D, Santi N, Shefi S, Hellerstein MK, Turek PJ. 2006. A Stable Isotope-Mass Spectrometric Method for Measuring Human Spermatogenesis Kinetics In Vivo. The Journal of Urology 175:242–246.

Amann RP. 2008. The Cycle of the Seminiferous Epithelium in Humans: A Need to Revisit? Journal of Andrology 29:469–487.

Durairajanayagam D, Rengan AK, Sharma RK, Agarwal A. 2015. Sperm Biology from Production to Ejaculation. In: Schattman GL, Esteves SC, Agarwal A, editors. Unexplained Infertility. New York, NY: Springer New York. p. 29–42. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-1-4939-2140-9_5

  • $\begingroup$ Great effort, thanks for coming back to your question! $\endgroup$ Commented May 8, 2017 at 9:34

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