Is sex the only way to get pregnant?
I am wondering if the only way to get pregnant is to have a penis go
inside a vagina directly? Would someone get pregnant if sperm were
near the vagina, but not inside?
For a woman to get pregnant, healthy sperm must be get inside a
woman's vagina, near the cervix around the time of ovulation. This
does not mean that the penis has to actually enter the vagina; it just
means that the sperm has to enter the vagina. Sperm that is in the
general area of the vulva (the outer lips of the vagina) may work its way
into a woman's body during sex. For this reason withdrawal of the
penis from the vagina right before the moment of ejaculation is not a
full-proof way for a woman to keep from getting pregnant. Neither is
genital to genital contact outside the vagina, which does not involve
penetration. Both activities may still deposit sperm somewhere in the
female genital tract where they can swim their way up to the cervix and
beyond. In addition, in the moment right before ejaculation, the penis
emits a small amount of fluid that is used as a form of lubrication
during intercourse. Sperm may indeed be present in this fluid, so there
is a definite possibility for pregnancy even though ejaculation did not
take place inside the woman's body.
However any kind of sex that leads to ejaculation but does not include
penetration (either oral or manual sex), is not likely to lead to
pregnancy. The sperm has to actually enter the vagina, travel through
the uterus, up the fallopian tube and meet the egg. The possibility of
this exists, but it is not large. It is important though to remember that if
a heterosexual couple is not using a condom they are risking the
transmission of STDs and HIV, as well as the risk of pregnancy. If a
woman thinks she might be pregnant she should get tested at a nearby
clinic or health care provider.