Aug 06 2009

The Myth of Pre-Ejaculate or Pre-Cum

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The question "Can you get pregnant from pre-cum?" are asked many times every day by young girls all over the world. A couple will get so sexually excited that the start unprotected intercourse before they come to there senses and stop, or even worse, they do not come to their senses and he continues until he feels like he is going to ejaculate and then he pulls out. Or they dry hump, clothes move around and all of a sudden, he is inside her.

The first question that immediately gets asked is did he pre-cum and can I get pregnant from that. To answer the first question: Unless his penis was as dry as a piece of paper, he did pre-cum. Not pre-cuming when he gets aroused is highly unlikely and unnatural, so if his penis made it into your vagina, it is safe to say he did pre-cum.

What is pre-cum or pre-ejaculate?

Pre means ‘before’. It is a fluid that comes out of his penis before the man ejaculates (cum). It gets secreted during arousal. Typically it will occur during the arousal and plateau phases of the male sexual response cycle. It is a clear and slippery (viscous) fluid. It can be totally absent (although this will make sex uncomfortable), as little as a drop or two and up to a few milliliters. It does not get ejaculated like semen, it will ooze out of the tip of his penis and make it shiny and slippery.

Why does a man pre-cum or pre-ejaculate?

The penis is not a very friendly environment for sperm. The penis is a dual use organ, the man urinates through it, as well as pass semen through it during ejaculation. Urine is pretty poisonous to sperm and it will destroy sperm quickly. This pre-ejaculate fluid helps to lubricate the urethra for spermatozoa to pass through safely, it neutralizes traces of acidic urine in urethra, and helps flush out any residual urine or foreign matter. It is possible for this fluid to pick up live and dead sperm remaining in the urethral bulb from previous ejaculations, and carry them out prior to the next ejaculation.

This is all to ensure that as much as possible sperm makes it out of the penis in an healthy as possible state when he do ejaculate.

Where does pre-ejaculate or pre-cum come from?

Pre-Ejaculate (or pre-cum) is a fluid released from the male Cowper’s gland. The male body has two Cowper’s glands, each the size of a pea. The Cowper’s glands mouth out inside the urethra at the base of the penis. The Cowper’s glands are the last glands to mouth out in the urethra. Both the prostrate and the ejaculatory ducts are behind the Cowper’s glands. The pre-ejaculate thus literally clears the way in front of the sperm.





Male Sexual Anatomy


The most commonly asked question about pre-ejaculate is “Can it make me pregnant?”.  The commonly given answer is steeped in urban legend, old wives tales, falsehoods and not based on science.

The answer given in the popular press is YES. This answer is normally based on hear say and it is not based on verifiable facts and no scientific studies can be quoted. It is based on countless postings in health groups, inaccurate web sites and bulletin boards:

"I had sex with my boyfriend. He pulled out and now I am pregnant."

No, he did not pull out in time. He actually started to ejaculate inside your vagina BEFORE he pulled out.

Yes you can definitely become pregnant from pre-seminal fluid. Pre-seminal fluid is more commonly known as pre-cum or pre-ejaculatory fluid.

Note, no story, no research, no facts

You can. Studies never prove EVERYTHING. My friend got pregnant from pre-cum and it wasn’t even from penetration…. She’s still a virgin technically, they were rubbing up against each other.

There is not a single study that found viable sperm in pre-cum.

"Apparently so, my unplanned pregnancy is proof of that."

I think not. You are pregnant because he ejaculated in you

"I’m living proof that a girl/woman can get pregnant from pre-ejaculatory fluid. My husband and I had intercourse (using withdrawal) twice in one day, and I’m positive that some ‘left over’ sperm from his first ejaculation were present in the pre-cum from the second. Nine and a half months later, I gave birth to our third child!"

If you have sex twice, the sperm from his first ejaculation got you pregnant or he ejaculated inside you. It also sounds like you got your dates mixed up and you got pregnant 2 weeks later..

"Yes, sometimes sperm starts releasing before actual ejaculation"

No, not unless the man has big medical problems. Sperm will be ejaculated by the contractions during orgasm. No orgasm, no contractions, no ejaculation. Sperm does not just randomly release. Even during a ‘wet dream’ (nocturnal ejaculation), the man will orgasm.

"Yes, the most potent of the sperm is the pre."

There are no sperm in pre-cum. It cannot be the most potent. Even where left-over sperm from a previous ejaculation is found in the pre-ejaculate, the leftover sperm are just short of dead and unable to swim according to the actual research.

"Possible, it takes just 1 sperm!"

Only one sperm can fertilize the egg. It actually takes 100 million sperm to get that 1 sperm to the egg. Even most infertile men will have millions of sperm and the woman will not get pregnant. Only 1 in 4 women will get pregnant from that 100 million sperm during her 5 fertile days of her cycle.

"Yes, you can get pregnant. Pre-cum is produced by the Cowper’s gland which is above the duct that releases the sperm. During arousal (when you’re horny), some sperm may be released into the urethra along with the pre-cum."

Wrong – the Cowper’s gland is below or in front of the duct that carries the sperm into the urethra. Sperm is released during orgasm, not arousal. The sperm is sealed off in the seminal vessels during arousal.

"Yes, Actually… I am taking a class in school right now that involves sex ed. Today we learned that pre-cum contains 1-3 million sperm, while regular cum contains 5-8 million."

No, actually this is not true. The most sperm ever detected in pre-ejaculate are a few thousand almost dead sperm. These were left over from earlier ejaculations. It does sound like your school opted out of sex education and are teaching abstinence only in its place. Ask your teacher to give you the source for this information and remember that abstinence only while sex education is based on science.

This abstinence only people believe that scaring somebody is better than educating them. Unfortunately this is based on a verifiable lie, just like the fact that abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. Once again research prove otherwise: The abstinence only educated have more STDs per 100 kids than the kids that got a proper sex education. they start with sexual activities later but then have exactly the same unwanted pregnancy rates after 6 months.

The misconception is that pre-ejaculate can make you pregnant. All research available today dispel this. Sperm is stored behind the Cowper’s glands. The sperm is stored behind the Cowper’s glands in the Seminal Vessels. These vessels are sealed with a valve to prevent semen from leaking out. During male orgasm the valve will open and release the sperm into the urethra. Her it will mix with fluid from the Cowper’s glands and the prostrate to form semen.


So where do the idea come from that pre-ejaculate can make you pregnant?


It was first published in classical sexuality text books. These books do mention though that it is extremely unlikely. From there other books just coppired this


It is not difficult to answer: Get a man into a lab, arouse him, collect the pre-ejaculate and study it.

There is not one single study that showed live sperm in pre-ejaculate fluid, ever.

Here is the results from some recent studies:

Most men had no sperm in their pre-ejaculate. Where sperm were found it was almost dead (immotile). It should also be noted that the infertile men’s and pre-ejaculate sperm were immotile (not capable of swimming up the cervix). This sperm is not capable to make it into the cervix to fertilize the egg. They are for all practical purposes DEAD.

To put some of the results from the studies into perspective. Let’s pretend that all the sperm that was found in pre-ejaculate were actually fully alive and ready to chase after an egg:

  • When a healthy and fertile man have sex with a healthy and fertile woman during her fertile time, 250,000 of 1 million couples will get pregnant (25%)
  • When an infertile man have sex with a healthy and fertile woman during the fertile time in her cycle, 12,500 of 1 million couples can get pregnant (1.25%)
  • When healthy and fertile man’s pre-ejaculate gets inside a healthy and fertile woman, 25 of 1 million couples can get pregnant (0.0025%)

The theoretical numbers for infertile men and pre-ejaculate are actually artificially high. In reality, and infertile man or pre-cum cannot make a woman pregnant.

The conclusion can thus only be: It is impossible to get pregnant from pre-ejaculate.

Infertile Men Sperm Statistics – Immotile Sperm


Where will the sperm go?

Fertile Man

Sperm Count

Infertile Man

Sperm Count


Sperm count



100 million

< 5 million



Through Cervical Mucus

10 million

< 500,000




1 million




Fallopian Tube




  Pregnancy Odds 25% chance <1.25% chance 0.0025% chance




Although these studies are not complete by any means, they are the only studies that were ever published. Not one single study has shown the ability of pre-ejaculate (pre-cum) to make a woman pregnant, not even in theory. It proves that of all the men tested not a single one was able to get a woman pregnant with pre-ejaculate. This is pretty conclusive.

Researchers find no sperm in pre-ejaculate fluid (2)

"A study in Boston, Massachusetts, and another study in New York City examined samples of pre ejaculate fluid from HIV seropositive and HIV seronegative men to determine whether HIV was or was not present in pre ejaculate fluid. The researchers found macrophages and CD4 lymphocytes in most samples, indicating that HIV was present. The more significant finding, however, was that most pre ejaculate samples did not contain any sperm at all, and those that did had only small clumps of a very small amount of sperm which seemed to be immobile and dead. A larger study is needed to verify these results. If these results are confirmed, they may dispel the myth that pre-ejaculate fluid contains sperm. An ongoing WHO/USAID study shows that the pregnancy rate caused by men with 3 million sperm/ml ejaculation is very low; fertility clinics consider men with a sperm count of less than 5 million/ml to be infertile, particularly if is there is low motility. The average ejaculation has about 100 million sperm/ml, but about 10 million sperm pass through the cervical mucus, about 1 million make it to the top of the uterine tract, and just about 100,000 sperm reach the fallopian tubes. Thus, only a couple of sperm, assuming motility, would reach the fallopian tubes in the case of the pre-ejaculate samples with some sperm, which tended to be immobile (sperm levels only in the 1000s). Thus, the probability of pregnancy is very low if pre-ejaculate fluid enters the vagina. Pre-ejaculate fluid of 6 of the 9 HIV seropositive donors in Boston and 6 of the 14 HIV seropositive donors in New York contained HIV, regardless of symptom status or antiretroviral therapy status. Thus, the risk of HIV transmission may be higher than unplanned pregnancy, so people should use condoms before the penis enters the vagina, mouth, or anus."

PMID: 12286905 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


Does preejaculatory penile secretion originating from Cowper’s gland contain sperm? (3)

(1) Andrology Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rabin Medical Center, Petah Tikva, Israel – Zvi Zukerman, Raoul Orvieto

(2) Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel – Zvi Zukerman, Raoul Orvieto

(3) Male Infertility Clinic, Kupat Holim Me’uhedet, Jerusalem, Israel – David B. Weiss

"Purpose: To determine if spermatozoa are present in the pre-ejaculatory penile secretion, originating from Cowper’s gland.


Patients: Five patients referred for premature ejaculation, three for excessive fluid secreted during foreplay and four normal healthy volunteers.

Intervention: Glass slide smears of pre-ejaculatory Cowper’s gland secretion obtained during foreplay from at least two different occasions, and semen samples after masturbation.

Main Outcome Measures: Microscopic examination of air-dried smears, and routine semen analyses.

Results: None of the pre-ejaculatory samples contained any sperm. All the patients had sperm in routine sperm analyses.

Conclusions: Pre-ejaculatory fluid secreted at the tip of the urethra from Cowper’s gland during sexual stimulation did not contain sperm and therefore cannot be responsible for pregnancies during coitus interruptus."

With kind permission from Springer Science+Business Media: Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, Short Communication: Does Preejaculatory Penile Secretion Originating from Cowper’s Gland Contain Sperm?, Volume 20, Number 4/April 2003, Pages 157-159, Author  – Zvi Zukerman, David B. Weiss, Raoul Orvieto.



1) Urban (or Suburban) Legends About Sex – WebMD – January 14, 2010

2) Researchers find no sperm in pre-ejaculate fluid – PMID: 12286905 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] – October. 1993

3) Does preejaculatory penile secretion originating from Cowper’s gland contain sperm? – PMID: 12762415 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] – April, 2003

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