Can You Get Pregnant Without Having Sex?

It is possible to become pregnant without having sexual intercourse. We’ll explore the various ways this is possible, including both intentional and accidental pregnancies. 

There are several reasons why someone may want to get pregnant without having intercourse. For example, people who suffer from certain medical conditions like vaginismus or vulvodynia experience pain during sex that can be intolerable. If someone wants to get pregnant but is unable to have vaginal intercourse, they can seek other methods. 

Of course, many people require assistance to get pregnant, for example someone experiencing infertility or someone who does not have a uterus. They cannot get pregnant the “traditional” way via vaginal, penetrative sex. Instead, they can pursue one of several assisted reproduction techniques that cause pregnancy without intercourse. At Family Inceptions, we deal exclusively with this type of pregnancy. Our surrogates and egg donors make pregnancy possible for intended parents — and of course, there is no sexual intercourse involved! 

Let’s explore the various ways someone can become pregnant without having sex.

Splash Pregnancies & Virgin Pregnancies

The first type of pregnancies to discuss are typically accidental, although not always. Known as “splash pregnancies” or “virgin pregnancies,” these occur when semen is present outside of the vagina. Semen can enter the vagina in some instances, or it could be transferred there via a hand, for example. The odds of actually becoming pregnant in this manner are unclear but are definitely lower when compared to having vaginal intercourse. If you are trying to become pregnant in this way, here are some things you can do to increase your chances: 

  • Track your ovulation and time it for when you are likely to be ovulating. 
  • Continue to lie on your back afterwards for several minutes. 
  • If you’re using any lubricants, make sure they are fertility-friendly.  

The term “virgin pregnancy” is typically used to refer to women who self-report that they have never had sexual intercourse yet have become pregnant. It’s worth noting that there are multiple kinds of intercourse, not just vaginal. Those people who report virgin pregnancies likely have a narrow view of intercourse as only being vaginal, penetrative sex. When a pregnancy occurs and the pregnant person says she has not had intercourse, it’s possible that she became pregnant due to a splash pregnancy. 

If you intend to become pregnant without having vaginal intercourse, there are several assisted reproduction options that give you a much better chance. Let’s explore each in more detail.

IUI 

IUI, commonly referred to as artificial insemination, is one way to achieve pregnancy without having sexual intercourse. IUI stands for intrauterine insemination. During the procedure, semen is inserted into the vaginal canal, cervix, or the uterus using a thin, flexible tube.

Prior to the procedure, you may or may not take fertility medications to increase your chances of success. Sperm is collected either from a male partner or a donor and is then “washed,” to prepare it for transfer.

IUI is a relatively simple and straightforward procedure. It doesn’t require anesthesia and can be completed in just a few minutes at your doctor’s office or a fertility clinic. IUI is much more affordable than other assisted reproduction procedures. According to Planned Parenthood, it costs between $300-$1000 without insurance, not including any medications. 

Success rates vary and will depend on the reason you are seeking this treatment. If you have been struggling with infertility, your chances of success will be lower. If you are otherwise healthy and are choosing this procedure for other reasons, your chance of success will likely be higher than average. 

For women who experience vaginismus and who cannot tolerate penetration, IUI may not be an option. Because a tube must be inserted into the vagina, it could still trigger the spasms that cause pain and prevent penetration.

IVF

Here at Family Inceptions, IVF is always on our minds! After all, it’s the incredible medical procedure that allows our selfless gestational surrogates to give the gift of life to our intended parents. IVF is an option for anyone who cannot or who chooses not to become pregnant by having sex. 

The Mayo Clinic defines in vitro fertilization as “a complex series of procedures used to help with fertility or prevent genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child.” 

“In vitro” is Latin for “in the glass,” and it’s used to describe a medical experiment, study, or procedure outside a living organism. “In the glass” is a fitting term because the procedure takes place in a test tube or Petri dish. 

The first baby to be conceived with IVF was born in 1978. Since then, IVF has become a very common means to have a child. Science Daily estimates that over 8 million babies have been born as a result of IVF since then. 

The IVF process involves many steps, from preparing your body and menstrual cycle to egg retrieval and embryo transfer. Here is a very brief summary of how IVF works: 

  • Preparation: The person who intends to become pregnant, either the intended mother or a gestational carrier, takes medications to prepare her body and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. 
  • Egg Retrieval: Eggs are either retrieved from the intended mother’s uterus or from an egg donor during a medical procedure. It’s also possible to use eggs from a frozen egg bank.
  • Sperm Retrieval: Sperm is obtained from either the intended father or a donor and prepared.
  • Fertilization: Egg and sperm are combined in a laboratory.
  • Embryo Transfer: The resulting embryo is then transferred directly to the intended mother or surrogate’s uterus during a medical procedure.
  • Implantation: the embryo will attempt to implant in the uterus. After about two weeks, pregnancy tests can reveal whether IVF was successful. 

For a more comprehensive look into IVF, check out our guide to Understanding the Basics of IVF.

Egg Donors

Egg donors are women who choose to donate their eggs in order to help another couple or individual conceive a child. There are many reasons why an intended parent would choose to use donor eggs. Couples suffering from infertility, LGBTQ couples, and single intended parents need alternative family building options. Finding a suitable egg donor is a common and attractive option for many intended parents, and it doesn’t involve sexual intercourse at all. 

Donor eggs can be used by the recipient mother to carry her own baby, or they can be used in tandem with a gestational surrogate. In either case, donor eggs and sperm (either donor sperm or from one intended parent), are joined together in a lab, then inseminated in the uterus of the woman who will carry the pregnancy. 

In the United States, the typical egg donor is between 21 and 29 years old. Often, donors are college students who see egg donation as a way to both give back to people in need and earn money for their studies or other financial goals. 

Donors need to have a healthy medical record with no known reproductive issues, and most will undergo genetic carrier screening. Intended parents can work with an agency or donor bank to search for a donor who meets a variety of criteria including ethnic background, appearance, special talents, and so on. 


Learn more about finding an egg donor.

A Different Way Of Conceiving

Modern family building can look different for many people. At Family Inceptions, we believe there is no “right” way to build a family, and it’s our mission to help anyone who desires to be a parent become one. Whether you want to become pregnant without having sex for medical reasons, personal choice, or because you lack a necessary piece of the puzzle like eggs, sperm, or a uterus, there is a path for you. 

As our founder Eloise Drane always says, Love has no limits. Neither should parenthood.

 

Tune in to our podcast for more answers to questions you might have.

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