Answering the “Can I Get Pregnant From…” Question Once and For All

Answering the “Can I Get Pregnant From…” Question Once and For All

Our expert: Dr. Sherry Ross

Sheryl A. Ross, M.D., “Dr. Sherry,” is an award-winning OBGYN, our go-to for pregnancy, postpartum, menopause and beyond. She’s practiced for 20+ years, recently won both a Top Ten OB/GYN & Patient’s Choice Award. She also has a line of custom vitamins made specially for women, Dr. Ross D3FY Vitamins.

Can I get pregnant from a toilet seat or other things like that?


The toilet seat can pass on a lot things, but pregnancy is not one of them. A toilet seat carries tons of bacteria, but you cannot get pregnant nor can you get sexual transmitted infections such as HPV, herpes or chlamydia.

Now is also a good time to do a short birds ‘n’ bees talk on how conception works (and how it doesn’t work).

Each month, a woman ovulates producing an egg, which can be fertilized by sperm for a 24-hour period. Ovulation tends to happen in the middle of the cycle typically around day 14 of a 28-day cycle. The male ejaculate contains millions of sperm in about a teaspoon worth of fluid.  If the sperm has been deposited in the vagina, it will start searching for the woman’s egg. Fertilization typically takes place in a woman’s fallopian tube, which is the tube connecting to the uterus. The ovary releases one egg each month into the fallopian tube, which catches the egg. It then travels through the tube waiting to find the sperm.

The sperm has to be released in the vagina or near the vaginal opening in order to swim up travel through the cervix and uterus head towards the egg. It only takes one sperm of the millions to find and fertilize the egg. Sperm can live for 3-5 days inside the body and prefer a warm and moist environment. If the egg is not fertilized by sperm within 24 hours, the egg disintegrates, and within two weeks, you will get a period.


Instances Where Pregnancy Is Unlikely

Going back to you question about getting pregnant from other means (in this case, the toilet seat), if your boyfriend masturbates in the bathroom and ejaculates on the toilet seat, his sperm would probably live for a few minutes or until it dries. When sperm is on a dry surface, such as sheets, clothing, fingers, skin and toilet seats, sperm is dead once it becomes dry. If sperm is released in water, such as a warm bath or hot tube, it may live longer since it’s a preferred environment. But the chances of you getting pregnant if there are sperm floating around in a hot tube are next to nil.

A common question is “If my boyfriend ‘cums’ on my thigh, can I get pregnant?” As long as your BF’s ejaculate with the billions of actively swimming sperm stay clear of the vaginal opening your chance of getting pregnant is unlikely. If the ejaculate is in direct contact with the vaginal opening there is a chance of getting pregnant.  The likelihood is much less compared to vagina-penis sex.


Instances Where Pregnancy Is Possible

If the penis is inside the vagina right before ejaculation there may be a release of fluid called “pre-ejaculation” or  “pre-cum.”  This liquid might contain active and viable sperm putting you at risk of getting pregnant. There is a type of birth control called the “withdrawal” or “pull out” method, which is when the penis is pulled out of the vagina right before ejaculation.  This method is also known as “pull and pray” since the “pre-cum” can be left in the vagina unknowingly (and can potentially lead to pregnancy).


Know your body and how it functions.  Before you even think about becoming sexually active, see your health care provider to discuss birth control options and sexually transmitted infection prevention.

Education is power and serves as your first step to preventing pregnancy.

Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.