It is typically believed that pre-ejaculate contains sperm, for example

Guys leak a bit of sperm out of the penis before ejaculation. This is called pre-ejaculate. source

Does a man's pre-ejaculate fluid contain sperm typically?


1 Answer 1


It is debated. I found 3 studies relating to this, in temporal order:

Contracept Technol Update. 1993 Oct;14(10):154-6. Researchers find no sperm in pre-ejaculate fluid.

The more significant finding, however, was that most pre ejaculate samples did not contain any sperm and those that did had only small clumps of a very small amount of sperm which seemed to be immobile. A larger study is needed to verify these results. If these results are confirmed, they may dispel the myth that pre ejaculate fluid contains sperm.

J Assist Reprod Genet. 2003 Apr;20(4):157-9. Does preejaculatory penile secretion originating from Cowper's gland contain sperm? Zukerman Z, Weiss DB, Orvieto R.

Preejaculatory fluid secreted at the tip of the urethra from Cowper's gland during sexual stimulation did not contain sperm and therefore cannot be responsible for pregnancies during coitus interruptus.

Hum Fertil (Camb). 2011 Mar;14(1):48-52. Epub 2010 Dec 15. Sperm content of pre-ejaculatory fluid. Killick SR, Leary C, Trussell J, Guthrie KA.

Eleven of the 27 subjects (41%) produced pre-ejaculatory samples that contained spermatozoa and in 10 of these cases (37%), a reasonable proportion of the sperm was motile.


None of these studies is conclusive (the biggest study was on 27 patients). Given that in some cases, spermatozoa were found in pre-ejaculate fluid, the only conclusion we can reach, pending better studies, is that in some common cases it does indeed contain sperm.

As such, it is not advisable to ever assume that coitus interruptus would be effective in preventing pregnancy.

  • 1
    This question was intentionally not about coitus interruptus, that's a different question.
    – Sam I Am
    Feb 17, 2012 at 2:04

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