AS a rule, it’s probably not a good idea to listen to old wives’ tales when it comes to contraception and pregnancy.
But one myth that crops up time and time again is that you can’t get pregnant if your partner didn’t ejaculate – which is categorically untrue.
Getty Experts warn you can get pregnant from pre-ejaculate fluid[/caption]
Known as the “withdrawal method“, it involves the guy pulling out before reaching climax.
Around 1 in 5 blokes rely on the risky method to avoid pregnancy, according to the US National Center for Health Statistics.
However, experts warn that it’s not a safe form of birth control.
That’s because during sexual arousal, men release a clear fluid known as pre-ejaculate.
It can contain live, fully-functioning sperm, ready and raring make a swim dash to fertilise the egg.
Serves a purpose
The fluid is produced by a pair of pea-sized glands called the Cowper’s glands, located near the urethra, a tube in the penis which allows urine and semen to exit the body.
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Its purpose is to neutralise any acidity left by urine in the urethra, protecting sperm that flows through.
But some people’s does contain a small amount of sperm, according to Planned Parenthood.
The sexual health care service explains: “Pre-ejaculate is a small amount of fluid that comes out of the penis when you’re aroused, but before ejaculation happens.
“It doesn’t usually have any sperm in it.
“But some people’s pre-ejaculate does have a small amount of sperm in it, sometimes.
“This means sperm can get into the vagina and possibly fertilise an egg.”
A study in 2011 found that in a sample of 27 men, 41 per cent had pre-ejaculate fluid that contained spermatozoa.
HOW RELIABLE IS YOUR CHOICE OF CONTRACEPTION?
THERE are lots of options when it comes to preventing an unwanted pregnancy.
But which are the most effective at stopping a surprise pitter patter of tiny feet?
Here’s a rundown on how reliable the most common forms of contraception are, according to the NHS.
Obviously, these figures are based on each option being used properly.
- male condoms – 98 per cent effective
- the combined Pill – more than 99 per cent
- mini pill – more than 99 per cent
- the implant – more than 99 per cent
- contraceptive injection – more than 99 per cent
- the coil – more than 99 per cent
For the major of those, a reasonable proportion of the sperm was capable of making its way to the egg, scientists warned.
As there’s no way to tell whether some’s pre-ejaculate contains sperm, experts advise against relying on it as a way to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Natika Halil, chief executive of the Family Planning Association, said: “Some couples might choose to rely on withdrawal but this can be notoriously difficult to get right so your risk of pregnancy is quite high.
“Because it can be so hard to use withdrawal correctly and consistently, we don’t consider it reliable enough to count as a method of contraception, and recommend instead choosing one of the 15 contraceptive methods available.
Some couples might choose to rely on withdrawal but this can be notoriously difficult to get right so your risk of pregnancy is quite high
Natika Halilchief exec of Family Planning Association
“The only way for it to be more reliable is to do it correctly and consistently every time, but this can be hard for many people to achieve.”
And Natika said another major concern is that unlike condoms, the withdrawal method doesn’t protect at all against sexually transmitted infections.
A survey in 2016 revealed that more women in Europe were relying on the withdrawal method than anywhere else in the world.
The results, which came from analysis of a UN report by Superdrug, show that 7.8 per cent of couples use the method, even though it is one of the least reliable – with a 27 per cent failure rate in couples who don’t time it perfectly.
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Natika added: “It’s estimated that approximately four to six per cent of women in the UK may be using withdrawal.
“It may often be used in relationships, where couples may be more relaxed about whether or not they get pregnant.
“A bad experience on another type of contraception, or concerns about side effects, can also contribute to people deciding to try withdrawal.”