Structure of Formed Sperm
Sperm are smaller than most cells in the body; in fact, the volume of a sperm cell is 85,000 times less than that of the female gamete. Approximately 100 to 300 million sperm are produced each day; whereas, women typically ovulate only one oocyte per month. Sperm have a distinctive head, mid-piece, and tail region (Figure). The head of the sperm contains the extremely compact nucleus with very little cytoplasm. These qualities contribute to the overall small size of the sperm (the head is only 5 μm long). A structure called the acrosome covers most of the head of the sperm cell as a “cap” that is filled with enzymes important for preparing sperm to participate in fertilization. The flagellum extends from the neck and the mid-piece through the tail of the sperm enabling it to move the entire sperm cell. The central strand of the flagellum is formed from inside the maturing sperm cell during the final stages of spermatogenesis.