Can You Get Pregnant From Precum?

Q: Can you get pregnant from precum?

A: The chances of getting pregnant from precum is extremely low, provided that the male has urinated at least once since his last ejaculation.

Precum (sometimes called pre-ejaculatory fluid) refers to the clear liquid that is present on the tip of a man's penis when he is sexually aroused, but before he ejaculates. Pre-cum is generated by Cowper's gland, while sperms are generated by the testes. Because they come from two different organs, it is reasonable to deduce that sperms should not be present in pre-cum unless their paths cross in some way.

Sperm in precum?

The most likely scenario for precum to contain sperm is due to the presence of sperms in the urinary tract from a previous ejaculation. This could be from a sexual intercourse, masturbation, or a wet dream. The best way to remove these sperms is via urination, where the urine would wash out the sperm.

Research Findings

Whether this liquid contains live sperm has been a topic of research by scientists, with conflicting results: some reported the presence of sperm in precum while others reported seeing no sperm.

Pudney et al (1992)1 and Killick et al (2011)2 reported finding sperm in precum, while Zukerman et al (2003)3 and Lampiao (2014)4 reported that sperms were absent in precum. The most recent research paper, by Lampiao (2014), also examined the other reports and speculated that "the few studies that reported the presence of spermatozoa was possibly due to faulty methodology during fluid collection by the study participants."

Until further results are reported by other researchers, however, the best we can say is that current scientific research is pointing in the direction that there is no sperm in precum unless sperm was already in the urinary tract. That suggests that the chances of getting pregnant from precum is extremely low, provided that the male has urinated at least once since his last ejaculation. On the other hand, there has been no conclusive evidence that proves that absolutely no sperm exists in precum as long as there is no sperm presence in the urinary tracts. Until such evidence is reported, we must consider that there is still a very small chance that precum can cause pregnancy.


[1] J. Pudney, M. Oneta, K. Mayer, G. Seage, D. Anderson, Pre-ejaculatory fluid as potential vector for sexual transmission of HIV-1. Lancet 340, 1470 (1992).

[2] S. R. Killick, C. Leary, J. Trussell, K. A. Guthrie, Sperm content of pre-ejaculatory fluid. Hum. Fertil. 14, 48-52 (2011).

[3] Z. Zukerman, D. B. Weiss, R. Orvieto, Does pre-ejaculatory penile secretion originating from Cowper’s gland contain sperm? J. Assist. Reprod. Genet. 20, 157-159 (2003).

[4] F. Lampiao, Coitus Interruptus: Are there spermatozoa in the pre-ejaculate? Int. J. Med. Biomed. Res. 3(1), 1-4 (2014).

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