Can You Still Get Pregnant if Sperm Comes Out After Sex?
Medically reviewed by Rachel Liberto, RN on February 20, 2020
- Research shows that sperm gets where it needs to go within one minute after ejaculation.
- It’s normal for semen to fall out after sex, and this does not reduce your chances of conceiving.
- Peeing after sex doesn’t hurt your chances of conceiving, and lying down after sex does not help your chances.
When you’re trying to get pregnant, do you need to do anything to prevent sperm from falling out? For a lot of women, the post-coital pee is de rigueur. Peeing after sex, as your doctor, best friend, and mom have probably told you countless times, is the best way to avoid a urinary tract infection. Spooning can wait.
But what about when you’re trying to get pregnant? Can you still get pregnant if the sperm comes out after sex?
Why does sperm leak out after sex?
To explain why, it’s important to understand how semen works: A single load of ejaculate typically contains between 20 and 400 million sperm.
Sperm travels rapidly through your reproductive tract, reaching your Fallopian tubes in as little as one minute.
Some of this sperm will remain in the back of your vagina (in an area called the posterior fornix), falling out anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours later. The rest will fall out of the vagina immediately, along with a lot of non-sperm material including proteins and vitamins.
Don’t be alarmed if it feels like a large amount of fluid comes out of your vagina after sex. Only about ten percent of semen is sperm!
By the time you get up to pee, the fastest sperm will have already made its way up through the cervix. Anything that falls out immediately after sex or when you get up to pee wouldn’t have made it through your cervix anyway.
Does peeing after sex reduce chances of pregnancy?
Good news: Peeing after sex has no impact on your chances of conceiving. If you’re prone to UTIs, go ahead and pee. If not, you can enjoy a good cuddle. Your chances of getting pregnant are the same either way.
Can you still get pregnant if sperm falls out?
What if you don’t go to the bathroom right after sex, but you still feel semen falling out? More good news: semen leaking out after sex does not hurt your chances of conceiving.
You don’t need to lie down, put your feet up, or do anything special to keep the sperm inside.
Does lying in bed or putting your feet up after sex help you get pregnant?
One of the most popular fertility myths is that lying down and putting your feet up after sex can boost your chances of getting pregnant. But this is most likely false.
A 2017 study of almost 500 women who were undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI) found no benefit to lying down for 15 minutes after sex. In fact, 40% of the women who got up immediately after the procedure became pregnant, compared to only 32% of women who rested after sex.
Why, then, is it so common for reproductive endocrinologists to recommend lying down after IUI? An earlier study, conducted by a Canadian research team in 2000, found a dramatic improvement in pregnancy rates when the woman rested for 10 minutes after IUI: almost 30% of women who rested got pregnant, compared with only 10% of those who didn’t rest.
In addition, a large randomized study from 2009 showed that women who lay on their backs for 15 minutes after IUI had higher pregnancy rates than those who got up immediately.
But critics have argued that these studies were poorly designed, and more recent research has not been able to replicate these results.
Does having an orgasm increase your chances of getting pregnant?
You might think that having an orgasm could help keep sperm inside you, increasing your chances for pregnancy. Among researchers, “upsuck theory” posits that the female orgasm could function to suck sperm up through the cervix and into the fallopian tubes.
G. Kunz, D. Beil, H. Deininger, L. Wildt, G. Leyendecker, The dynamics of rapid sperm transport through the female genital tract: evidence from vaginal sonography of uterine peristalsis and hysterosalpingoscintigraphy, Human Reproduction, Volume 11, Issue 3, March 1996, Pages 627–632, https://doi.org/10.1093/HUMREP/11.3.627
J van Rijswijk, M R Caanen, V Mijatovic, C G Vergouw, P M van de Ven, C B Lambalk, R Schats, Immobilization or mobilization after IUI: an RCT, Human Reproduction, Volume 32, Issue 11, November 2017, Pages 2218–2224, https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dex302
Custers IM, Flierman PA, Maas P, Cox T, Van Dessel TJ, Gerards MH, Mochtar MH, Janssen CA, van der Veen F, Mol BW. Immobilisation versus immediate mobilisation after intrauterine insemination: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2009 Oct 29;339:b4080. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b4080.