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What are the chances of getting pregnant using the withdrawal (pull out) method?

Withdrawal (pull out) is not an effective method of birth control. Of women using the withdrawal method for one year, approximately 25% will get pregnant sometime during the course of that year. In fact, it is possible to get pregnant the very first time that you use withdrawal.

There are several reasons for this. A ¼ teaspoon of semen can contain 100 million sperm or more. That means that if any semen gets near your vagina, there is a significant possibility of pregnancy. So if your partner pulls out just a fraction of a second later than he intended, you could get pregnant. If he ejaculates anywhere near your vagina, you could get pregnant.

Even if your partner times everything perfectly, and ejaculates away from your vagina, you could still get pregnant. That’s because fluid released before ejaculation (“pre-cum”) also contains some sperm.

Of course, withdrawal does nothing to prevent STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). You are still at risk for genital warts, herpes, gonorrhea and other infections.

It makes sense to think of withdrawal as, at best, a method of postponing pregnancy, not preventing pregnancy, since if you use withdrawal enough times, you are almost guaranteed to get pregnant.