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How Much Sperm Does It Take To Get Pregnant? Not As Much As You Think

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I was recently reading a particularly smutty novel wherein the protagonists were relying on the old standard "pull and pray" method of birth control. As the scene continued, the method became less "pull" and more "pray." But how much sperm does it take to get pregnant? Does it need to be a full load, or will just a little dab do you? (And your egg.) Pulling and praying seems like a smart idea if it takes a lot of sperm to get pregnant, right?

As it turns out, it doesn't take as much sperm as you think to knock you up. According to Men's Health magazine, most men only ejaculate about three-quarters of a teaspoon of semen at any orgasm. But in that semen, there are roughly 300,000,000 to 400,000,000 sperm. That's a ton of possible babies. Columbia University's Ask Alice noted that evolution is responsible for the sheer volume of swimmers in the stream because it was trying to increase the odds of finding its target — those sperm don't have GPS. They just have a very excited dude shoving them in the general direction of home and evolution needed to allow for the millions who end up losing their way. And if they don't get lost? They die trying. Because a woman's vagina is designed to beat off foreign invaders with more vigor than finesse.

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But, according to Planned Parenthood, it only takes one sperm. In fact, it doesn't have to be that much, or even ejaculated directly into your vagina. Just having your man ejaculate on or around your vulva can apparently lead to pregnancy. I distinctly remember asking my tenth grade BFF how much sperm it takes to get pregnant, and she definitely told me a little was OK. (She was definitely wrong.)

According to Planned Parenthood, just having semen on your hands and then touching yourself can get you pregnant. I am choosing not to think about how many times third base may have almost knocked me up, but it's a long shot. But according to the BBC, sperm are more likely to die than reproduce, and thank the sweet heavens for that, because I made some interesting choices in my late teens. But if you want to get pregnant, just know that there's no such thing as too much of a good thing. Good luck, and those sperm will just keep swimming.