Yes, Pregnancy Is Still Possible If Sperm Leaks Out After Sex

It’s a common question for couples trying to conceive: Can you still get pregnant if the sperm spills out after penis-in-vagina sex? We spoke with an expert to learn more. 

If you're trying to get pregnant, you might start viewing penis-in-vagina sex a little differently. For instance, you might start timing sex to increase your chances of conceiving and trying different positions that are prime for baby-making—and keeping semen inside the vagina. You might also wonder why sperm sometimes comes out of the vagina hours after sex.

When trying to conceive (TTC), it's normal to be worried if you notice that a small amount of semen (and, by extension, sperm) leaks out of your vagina after your partner ejaculates. This leakage is nothing to worry about but can understandably be discouraging when the goal is conception. You're left to wonder: "How is sperm supposed to fertilize my eggs if it's not making it there?"

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In actuality, though, it's entirely normal for some sperm to leak out of the vagina after sex that ends in your partner ejaculating into your vagina, says Michele Hakakha, M.D., FACOG, an OB-GYN in Beverly Hills and author of Expecting 411. Good news: Some sperm coming out is expected and doesn't affect your chances of getting pregnant. Read on to learn why you can still get pregnant if sperm comes out after sex.

Why It's OK If Some Semen Leaks Out

To understand why it's OK if some semen comes out, it helps to get a basic run-down of how conception works. "Semen (the stuff that comes out of the penis with ejaculation) is made up of a lot of different things," explains Dr. Hakakha. "One of its components is sperm."

Healthy ejaculate contains anywhere from 23 to 928 million sperm, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And just one sperm is needed to fertilize your egg for conception to occur. So, in reality, while you may notice what appears to be quite a lot of sperm leaking out of the vagina after penis-in-vagina sex, sperm is just one component of that fluid—and there's likely plenty of it to reach an egg if that is your goal.

Ejaculate often leaks out of the vagina after baby-making sex, and while there is not much you can do to prevent this from happening, that's OK. In fact, some amount of leakage could be a good sign since it could indicate a healthy amount of sperm that could result in pregnancy.

The Journey Sperm Take

If you're still uneasy about the amount of semen you find leaking out after sex, it can be helpful to think about the journey sperm takes after ejaculation. How can you confirm how much sperm went inside? Well, it may help to know that little actually ends up where it needs to go to conceive successfully (assuming the timing is right, of course).

Here are some places sperm may end up after entering the vagina:

  • Some semen will inevitably leak out of the vagina upon standing or changing positions.
  • Some of the sperm will remain in the back of the vagina (the posterior fornix).
  • An even smaller amount will make its way through the cervix, into the uterus, and down the fallopian tubes.

Sperm travels quickly, so it begins trekking to the fallopian tubes within minutes. "It's here, in the fallopian tubes, that the sperm and egg meet," says Dr. Hakakha.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that it's perfectly normal if some amount of semen (and sperm) leaks from the vagina after penis-in-vagina sex. And you don't need to worry about trying to "keep" it inside, either. "You don't need to lie in bed with your legs up after intercourse to get pregnant," says Dr. Hakakha. "The fact that semen is leaking out afterward doesn't decrease your chances of conceiving."

A pregnancy could result if the right circumstances are in place. For instance, timing sex with ovulation makes it more likely that an egg will be ready to be fertilized—but keep in mind that conception often takes time. For example, research shows that only about 30% of people trying to get pregnant will conceive the first month they try. But that same research shows that the rate increases to 75% within six months and 90% after a year.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), if you're under 35 and you've been trying to conceive for one year with no results, you may want to consider a fertility evaluation. If you're over 35 years old, the time frame decreases to six months, and those over 40 should get one right away.

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