Getting Pregnant from Precum

Posted by on Nov 30, 2017 in Birth Control |

The word “precum” is used colloquially to describe the fluid that is secreted by an aroused penis ahead of ejaculation of seminal fluid (known also as “cum”). Generally speaking, the earlier release of fluid serves only for purposes of lubrication. It is secreted from a gland near the head of the penis and in most cases does not contain viable sperm cells.

Having said this, however, it is possible for sperm cells to be present in this fluid. This is especially true at time when the man in question has recently had intercourse (or ejaculated under any circumstance), possibly leaving viable sperm cells in the internal conduits of the penis. Those sperm cells could potentially be caught up in the release of lubricating fluid, or precum, and be introduced into a woman’s reproductive organs during intercourse.

This is why it is possible for pregnancy to occur even at times when a man has withdrawn or pulled out his penis before ejaculating. Although it is the final ejaculation that usually causes conception, it is possible (though considerably less likely) for pregnancy to result from the contact with precum if it contains some viable sperm.
This information is mainly of interest to couples who rely on pulling out to avoid pregnancy. These couples need to understand the risk, however low it may be, of ending up with an unintended pregnancy, even if the man pulls out consistently before ejaculation. Given that sperm cells can remain viable for several days, the chances are slightly increased if that couple has sex more frequently than three-day intervals, because of the possibility that the live sperm cells have remained in the man’s penile ducts where they can be caught up in the secretion of early lubricating fluid. The chances of precum causing pregnancy are still very low, but the chance does exist.

There isn’t any way to ensure that the precum is free of sperm cells. Waiting several days between incidents of intercourse will decrease the chance of any sperm cells being present. In all honesty, though, the possibility of becoming pregnant from precum is fairly minimal compared to the likelihood of imperfectly practicing the pull out method to begin with.

If a couple needs to have a one hundred percent guarantee that they will not become pregnant, they would be well advised to consider a more certain form of birth control than pulling out. In addition to the slight risk posed by sperm cells present in precum, the pull out method relies heavily on the discipline of the couple practicing it—or more specifically, the discipline of the man practicing it. It goes without saying that a man would prefer not to pull out at the moment of orgasm, and that to do so requires a great deal of determination on his part. This fact is a far greater threat to the effectiveness of the method than the slight possibility of pregnancy caused by precum. In fact, the relatively high incidence of parenthood among people who practice withdrawal as a form of birth control is due primarily to the imperfect practice of the method.

If the couple truly doesn’t want to become pregnant but does not have alternative options for birth control, whether for financial or religious or personal reasons, they might consider combining the withdrawal method with attention to the calendar, to the female partner’s cervical mucus, and to the details of her cycle of fertility. With information about fertility and timing of intercourse, the effectiveness of the birth control can be greatly increased, provided the couple continues to practice their control consistently.