Letter | Published:

Fertilizing Capacity of Spermatozoa deposited into the Fallopian Tubes

Nature volume 168, pages 697698 (20 October 1951) | Download Citation



IN the natural sequence of mammalian fertilization, the spermatozoa await the arrival of ova in the Fallopian tubes. The time of waiting may vary from 6 hr. (rabbit), 24 hr. (ferret), 20–30 hr. (pig, sheep and cattle) up to perhaps several months (bat)1. Since the transportation of sperm from the vagina to the upper part of the tube is very rapid (a few minutes to 6 hr.1), and since the number of spermatozoa present at the site of fertilization is very small1, this time interval is not necessarily for the accumulation of a large number of spermatozoa to ensure fertilization. The following experiment demonstrates that such a period of time in the female tract is required for the spermatozoa to acquire their fertilizing capacity.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from $8.99

All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    cf. , and , Physiol. Rev., 31, 1 (1951).

  2. 2.

    , Proc. U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., 36, 188 (1950).

  3. 3.

    , J. Exp. Biol., 11, 140 (1934).

  4. 4.

    , J. Endocrinol., 6, 63 (1949).

  5. 5.

    , Anat. Rec., 99, 564 (1947).

  6. 6.

    , , and , Science, 109, 365 (1949).

Download references

Author information


  1. Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. July 24.

    • M. C. CHANG


  1. Search for M. C. CHANG in:

About this article

Publication history





By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.