To whom we owe our lives: cervical mucus

Eizelle wird von Sperma befruchtet

Do you actually know that we all devote our lives to this Zervixschleim owe? In Woody Allen films and the like, it is always portrayed as if the one super-willing and strongest sperm would sprint ahead of all the other loser sperm, leaving all the others behind, arriving first at the egg cell and then there take the egg by storm like the prince takes the princess. The old joke of saying, "If he comes out of there again, we'll call him Rambo, ok?"

Due to my job, I have dealt with the topic a bit in the last few years**). It is not so. It's very different.

Sperm are not super fighters or heroes with knives and headbands, sperm are either courted or killed, they have absolutely nothing to say about whether they survive or die immediately, because that controls the woman's cycle*). In phases in which pregnancy is really not announced, sperm inside the female body really don't last very long. To give the "little fighters" a chance at all, there is cervical mucus around ovulation - a shame there isn't a prettier word for it! Only when there is enough cervical mucus do sperm have a chance of surviving long enough to even get a glimpse of the ruptured egg. When cycle says no, on the one hand the gates to Babylon are closed (haha!) and on the other hand the slightly acidic environment in the vagina ensures a mass death that is as effective as it is silent (if you allow me to use this somewhat silly imagery linger). When cycle says yes, the gates are wide open, there is nectar and ambrosia (i.e. cervical mucus) in abundance and behind the Z border crossing (i.e. the cervix) there are plenty of well-supplied parking spaces with picnic areas. The "little fighters" behave more like "little campers", make themselves comfortable and live on cervical mucus. Those who arrive first at the ovum look for the entrance (which does not exist at first) and peck at the shell. At some point, when the shell has become brittle enough, some Griswold, who may have had a break right across the border at the beginning, comes along and makes it into the egg cell - and that's because there are hundreds and thousands of other heroes have done the preliminary work.

It's not all a comparison that lags, but I think this Rambo story lags a lot more than mine. And what I'm actually saying is, it's a fuckin' (haha!) miracle and it's wonderful how the cycle is handling it. The fact that the narrative that was most present to me, at least, is about male superstar sperm instead of ragweed at the rest stop behind the cervix is a consequence of the same fact, which is why we don't have a nicer word for cervical mucus. And this circumstance is a patriarchal one. In the end, it is the female cycle that determines life and death, and that is indeed a miracle.

*) I'll say "woman" because my vocabulary is not yet solid when it comes to trans people and non-binary people. Please forgive me that my level of knowledge is still insufficient, I promise to improve it!

**) I have with me @frau_ratte 2015 the trackle GmbH founded and I'm now the technical director and quality management officer.

This post by Maxim Loick, co-founder of trackle GmbH and Alprostadil.org, was first published on April 30, 2020 loick.de and is published here with the express permission of the proud author.