Can you get pregnant from precum?

1 year ago
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Precum is meant to wash any and all urine out of his urethra while providing some lubrication during sex.

Can you get pregnant from precum? It’s one of life’s great questions. And the answer is a complicated one. 

While ejaculate and precum, also known as pre-ejaculate, are both fluids that exit a man’s penis somewhere in the throes of passion, they are not the same. They differ in source, function, and, most importantly, composition says Michael Witt, M.D., a urologist at Prelude Fertility.

“Ejaculate is a composition of fluid from the prostate, seminal vesicles, and ampullae that contains sperm,” he says. “Ejaculated fluid is thick in composition, high in volume, and usually white, gray, or yellow in color.” Precum, however, is a thinner, mucous-y concoction that’s secreted by multiple glands throughout the reproductive system at the first signs of arousal. Its mission: wash any and all urine out of his urethra while providing some lubrication during sex, explains Edward Marut, M.D., an ob-gyn and reproductive endocrinologist at Fertility Centers of Illinois.

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So, does precum contain sperm? And can you get pregnant from precum? It depends. For example, in one Human Fertility study of 27 men, 11 of them had sperm in their pre-ejaculate. For the study, all 27 men were asked to masturbate five times into a cup. The men either had sperm in all or none of their pre-ejaculate samples. Technically, pre-ejaculate is not supposed to contain sperm, but it may pick some up as it moves down the pipeline. “The partitioning of these fluids is physiologically hard to do,” Witt explains.

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Basically, some guys may have sperm in their pre-ejaculate and others may not.

While there’s definitely less sperm in precut than there is in ejaculate, that’s still not a gamble you should take, says Thomas L. Toth, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist at Boston IVF and associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School.

Your move: Make sure your partner (or you, if you’re into female condoms) puts on a condom before there is any penis-to-vagina contact, Marut says. That include both full penetration and just-the-tip action. Because, no, sperm doesn’t die when it hits the air. But that’s a whole other myth…


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