If there's a 3 day ovulation period in which to have intercourse, would it be better (to create a more fit/healthy baby) to have sex once and ejaculate more sperm than have sex three times with reduced sperm count?

You would think that the more sperm ejaculated at once would result in much more competition to reach the egg, leading to a more fit spermatozoa, and presumably a more fit baby.

If the egg is fertilized during a lower level ejaculation, a less fit spermatozoa can fertilize the egg since there's less competition. Meaning a less fit baby?

Keep in mind I'm NOT asking about the chance of getting pregnant, I'm talking about the fitness/health of the baby. Obviously having sex once instead of three times decreases the chance of getting pregnant.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Expecting competition between spermatozoa to make the child "more competitive" (or "fit") is like expecting that somebody winning a singing competition could be advantaged for winning a Nobel Prize. The child doesn't use the genetic information which regulates the shape of the spermatozoon or the motion of its tail, hence maybe some future Nobel Laureates could be awful at swimming as spermatozoa. $\endgroup$
    – Nopey
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ Sperm actually survives for ~5 days so it really should not matter much. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ @The_Vinz This is only partially correct since overall sperm fitness does inversely correlate with complications during early embryonic development, which in turn correlates with later life outcome in a variety of ways. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ You are arguing that Usain Bolt is not as good a runner than a child who is the fastest among a mob of her classmates? $\endgroup$
    – swbarnes2
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 22:39

1 Answer 1


I can see where you're coming from, and keep in mind I am no expert in the area, but have you considered that there may be many, perhaps important factors at play than if the sperm had many competition or few? Take the parents genetic and epigenetic profile for instance, meaning not only what the mother and father could each pass on, but whether or not what they pass on will be active or not. And to use your own example, the fittest sperm, who outperformed the larger group; say it required more energy and thus produced more ROS, with which to damage to it's DNA, than the winner in the smaller group - which would be weaker and which stronger? Say the health of the sperm which fertilises the egg could not be influenced by you in any practical way, which method would you choose then?


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