We get a lot of questions here on Health Central's Sexual Health site and the numbers are growing daily. A majority of our reader question have a common theme. This theme usually consists of variations of asking whether or not one is pregnant or if such and such a situation occurs, what are the chances of becoming pregnant. Over time it has become clear to me that there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about how one does or does not become pregnant. I am hopeful that this article will be helpful in this regard to helping clear up some of the confusion about conception.
How normal conception occurs: If there are no fertility problems the typical way conception occurs is that a woman will release an egg about two weeks after the first day of her menstrual cycle. The egg travels from one of the ovaries and through the fallopian tubes toward the uterus. The egg lives about 24 hours so this is a critical time for sperm to meet up with the egg. The male ejaculation will contain between 30 to 300 million sperm which all strive to swim the distance to meet up with the egg. The sperm can live inside a woman's body for up to 72 hours. Out of all these millions of sperm it only takes one to get you pregnant.
What are the chances of my getting pregnant if my partner and I do not have any fertility issues?
Even if there are no fertility problems the odds of becoming pregnant will vary from cycle to cycle and also greatly depend upon the woman's age. This fertility site gives us these statistics: "If you are 20-25, your chance per cycle are about 25%. From there they begin to fall off. At 25-30 your chances are about 20%. At 30-35 they are about 15%. After 35 they may be about 10% per ovulatory cycle, and the chances continue the downward trend."
So this is why they will tell you that if a woman who is under thirty years of age is not pregnant after trying for a year then it is time to go see a fertility specialist. The average woman who is of this age group will become pregnant within six cycles. They say that women in their early thirties will usually become pregnant within nine cycles and women in their mid-thirties will usually conceive within a year. If you are over thirty-five and have been trying for six months or longer, it may be time to seek the help of a fertility specialist as you don't have as much time as someone who is younger.
And now for the questions about circumstances...
Can I get pregnant if he doesn't penetrate all the way or if he pulls out before ejaculation?
The answer is yes you sure can! Pre-ejaculate can include sperm and as stated earlier it takes only one resilient sperm to get you pregnant. The withdrawal method is probably the least effective of all forms of contraception and Planned Parenthood tells us that out of every 100 women who have a partner who uses withdrawal, that 27 of those women could become pregnant. In comparison only 2-8 of every 100 women who use some sort of birth control pill will become pregnant. It is clear that the withdrawal method is not a very reliable method at all and you are definitely taking a risk.