How fertile is precum?

Can I get pregnant from precum My Vagina

Precum is fertile in some men, but not fertile in others. The discrepancy here is not understood, but it likely just comes down to individual plumbing.

In the study​1​ we discuss below, if a man had fertile precum, it was fertile in every sample, but if a man didn’t have fertile precum in one sample, there were no live sperm in any sample. (At least that’s the gist of it.)

Thus, it would appear that some men can use the withdrawal method of birth control their whole lives without it resulting in a pregnancy, while others will get everyone pregnant, every time, with just the tip.

One of the only studies that exists on how fertile pre-ejaculate fluid in men is was published in 2013 by a fertility clinic. This study found that many men secrete fresh sperm, in the millions, into their pre-ejaculate fluid.

There was some speculation that it was ‘old’ sperm from a previous ejaculation, but the men in the study urinated several times before their sample was collected, clearing out the tubes, paving the way for the semen.

Twenty-seven volunteer men were used in the research, with 40 samples in total taken. The men were asked to masturbate, then just before they ejaculated, to dip their penis onto a petri dish.

The petri dish was then rushed next door to the microscope, where an analysis was done. Air quickly dries out semen, and kills sperm, so time was of the essence.

How fertile is precum?

  • Eleven of the 27 men (41 per cent) produced samples that contained live sperm
  • Out of these 11 men, 10 produced samples that had a reasonable proportion of motile sperm
  • Live sperm was found in either all or none of the samples from each man, with each man producing up to five samples, but levels of sperm were low almost all the time
  • It was never the case that a man had some samples containing no sperm and some that did – a man either had sperm in his samples, or he never did

Does the withdrawal method work for avoiding pregnancy?

This is a tough question, because unless a man has had fertility testing, he has no way of knowing if his precum has live sperm in it. This means that any erect penis should have a condom on it when it goes near a vagina, if there is a risk of an unwanted pregnancy.

What it does tell us is that couples who have been using the pull-out method for years without a single unplanned pregnancy have been using this method of birth control effectively! And it should continue to work for them into the future, because the male partner clearly does not have fertile precum.


  1. 1.
    Killick SR, Leary C, Trussell J, Guthrie KA. Sperm content of pre-ejaculatory fluid. Human Fertility. Published online December 15, 2010:48-52. doi:10.3109/14647273.2010.520798

Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)