Question: How likely is it that pre-cum will cause pregnancy? About a month ago, my boyfriend and I were fooling around and things went a little too far. His penis was inside for a short amount of time, probably less than five minutes, and he didn’t cum. I’m not sure if I am late or not. What is the probability that we’re pregnant?
Yes, it may be possible to get pregnant from sperm in pre-ejaculatory fluids, through your specific situation makes it seem unlikely that you would have gotten pregnant from the encounter with your boyfriend. Here’s why:
Pre-Ejaculate: What Is It? What Is It For?
Pre-ejaculate (sometimes called “pre-cum”) is fluid released by the Cowper’s glands, which are two small glands along the male reproductive/urinary tract. This fluid helps to neutralize the otherwise acidic environment of the urethra and, as such, offers protection to sperm that might soon travel that route via ejaculation. The fluid is clear and, in some but not all men, is visible at the tip of the penis during sexual arousal.
Sexuality and health educators often warn individuals that pre-ejaculate might have sperm in it and thus could cause a pregnancy.
Pre-Ejaculate May Contains Sperm
Some research that has examined the content of pre-ejaculatory fluid has found no sperm at all in pre-ejaculate; other research has found that some men do indeed have sperm present in their pre-ejaculatory fluids. And no, there is no way to know if any given man has sperm in his – so I’d recommend not risking it in the future if you don’t wish to risk pregnancy.
If you would like more certainty, consider taking a pregnancy test; you can buy one from a local drugstore or ask for a pregnancy test through your campus health center or a local family planning clinic.
And It Can Contain Infectious Agents
It is important to note that infectious agents (including HIV) can be present in pre-ejaculate. Therefore it is still a good idea to use a condom in order to reduce the risk of infections that are transmitted through fluids, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV.
Even when it turns out that the likelihood of an unintended pregnancy is low, pregnancy scares often make couples consider their choices with more seriousness. This might be a good time to talk about how to keep things from going “too far” from where you feel comfortable.
What might make future romantic encounters comfortable? Should you both start carrying condoms? Do you want to engage in certain behaviors and avoid others? What feels right to you given your age, experience, values and feelings for each other? Thinking and talking through these points can help you figure out more about how you want to lead your relationship.
If you are not ready to become pregnant, consider using highly effective methods of birth control such as the IUD, birth control implant, birth control pill (“the pill”), the birth control shot, or others. Condoms offer both pregnancy and STI risk reduction and some people choose to use condoms plus an IUD (or condoms plus a pill) in order to further reduce their pregnancy risk.
Reviewed and updated on April 29, 2017.