How To Confirm Whether Sperm Went Inside?

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If you are trying to conceive, it’s common to be curious about how to confirm whether sperm went inside properly during sexual intercourse. Unfortunately, no. You cannot officially confirm whether sperm went in or not. 

Stay on for a few minutes though. You will learn the long voyage that sperm takes from the testes to (hopefully) the fallopian tubes and ultimately the egg. And some more questions you may be wondering about sperm and pregnancy.

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The sperm voyage during natural conception

Let’s pretend we are in Miss Frizzle’s magic school bus. Here is an up-close look at where sperm goes inside the female after ejaculation: 


  • After ejaculation, sperm travels to the endocervix. This is the area between the vagina and cervix. Think of this as a narrow bridge connecting two cities. This initial travel takes 90 seconds to three minutes.
  • Getting from the vagina to the uterus via the cervix can be dangerous for the sperm. This is due to the acidity of vaginal fluid and the female’s immune system.

Sperm plug

  • For protection, rich sperm join together to make a plug at the opening of the cervix. This jelly-like cluster keeps the sperm from escaping back into the vagina. This allows sperm to continue along their journey.

Cervical mucus (CM)

  • Mucus inside the female reproductive tract helps to push healthy sperm along. It also acts as a filter to keep bad sperm out. When semen first enters through the upper vagina, the female body prepares to fight off potential pathogens. This immune response is similar to when your body fights off an infection. The CM helps fend off the white blood cells (WBCs) from attacking the good sperm. In this way, your CM is basically like a bodyguard. It keeps the desired guests (good sperm) in and the undesirable guests (bad sperm and bacteria) out. 
  • Your vagina also has a buffering period (just a few minutes) designed to help good sperm survive. About 10 seconds after sperm enters the upper vagina, the pH can go from about 4.5 up to about 7.5. This small window of time is key in helping the good sperm reach the cervix. The cervix is a much friendlier environment for sperm with a pH between 6.5 – 7.5.  
  • The consistency of your CM matters for conception too. This consistency changes depending on where you are at in your menstrual cycle. When you are about to ovulate, the pH of your vagina is less acidic, and your cervical mucus (CM) is stickier. This thicker CM is that jelly-like substance that helps keep the sperm inside. Imagine your CM as Spiderman’s webbing helping the sperm zoom through the narrow streets of your reproductive tract.

Fallopian tube

  • Once the sperm make it through the cervix and uterus, only a lucky few will continue their journey to the fallopian tubes. It is there that they have the chance to fertilize a released egg.

The female uterine cavity is only a few centimeters long. So this whole voyage takes about 5-20 minutes.

Which sperm survive the voyage?

Millions of sperm cells enter the vagina at the time of ejaculation. But only a tiny fraction of that number end up in the fallopian tube by the end of their journey.

Healthy sperm have the best chance of surviving this voyage. Sperm is healthy if it has normal movement (progressive motility) and normal structure (morphology). 

Here is a quick glimpse at how many sperm survive:

  • 300 million sperm enter the vagina during ejaculation
  • 100,000 sperm make it to the uterus—less than 1% of them survive
  • 10,000 sperm travel to the correct fallopian tube (the one on the same side as the ovary that released the egg that cycle)
  • About 200 sperm will try to enter the egg
  • The egg only admits 1 sperm!

It’s important to know that the exact number of sperm will vary person to person. But the proportions will be about the same. 

To know more about healthy sperm, click here.

The structure and mucus of the fallopian tube also help the sperm by slowing them down. This could allow the body extra time to weed out bad sperm. Reproductive experts believe this is one way the reproductive system selects the sperm with the best chance of fertilization. 

How do you ensure sperm enters your cervix?

There is almost a guaranteed chance of sperm entering the uterus and then the cervix after ejaculation. Unless the male has issues with sperm production (no sperm in their semen or no ejaculation at all). While there is no way to ensure that sperm has entered the cervix, you can try a few things to assume sperm has met your egg. 

One way to monitor this though is to look for signs of implantation. These include mild cramping, light spotting, tender breasts, and lower basal body temperature. 

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) like IUI can also help ensure that sperm gets to the cervix. Tracking your cycle and confirming with pregnancy tests are final ways to confirm a potential pregnancy.

Busting myths about holding sperm inside to get pregnant

There are a lot of myths floating around about how to help keep sperm inside to get pregnant. They range from simple to silly. Here are the facts about some of these common myths.

Lying still or keeping your legs in the air after sex/insemination

There have been just a few studies that have looked into this myth. But one study sheds some possible hope on this intervention.

In the mid-2000s, a randomized study of 391 couples undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI) took place. 

About half of the patients remained in a supine position (lying face up) for 15 minutes after insemination. The other half resumed normal mobility after the insemination.

The study found a significant difference in pregnancy outcomes. The women who remained still for 15 minutes had a 27% rate of successful conception. For the control group, the pregnancy rate was 18%. 

Keep in mind, this is just one study, and it was for patients using ART. But it could mean waiting an extra 15 minutes after sex or insemination is worth trying.

Inserting a menstrual disc after sex

A menstrual disc is a type of cup that you insert when you have your menstrual cycle. It absorbs menstrual bleeding inside the vagina almost like a tampon. Some women have tried inserting these discs to boost their chances of healthy pregnancy.

Some claim that this has helped them get pregnant. But no medical studies have explored a link between “sperm cups” and fertility at this point. It can’t hurt to try though as long as the menstrual cup is used safely according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Using lubricant to help move sperm

Some couples use lubricants as a way to make sex more enjoyable. Others use a lubricant because they believe it will help sperm move better inside.

Female reproductive structures already naturally have mucus that aid in conception. And some lubricants have actually proven to kill sperm.

A 2019 survey involving Scottish health care professionals (HCPs) looked at usage of vaginal lubricants and fertility. Based on their research, the HCPs recommend avoiding lubricants. They only suggest using them if they are necessary for sexual function for the couple. 

Trying certain sex positions

People have suggested that some sex positions can increase chances of conception. So far, no studies confirm or deny this myth.

One study did use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The researchers captured images of a couple having sex intercourse in the missionary and man-behind position. All this revealed was that these positions resulted in the penis ejaculating deeper within the vagina. But this study only involved 1 couple and did not assess any healthy pregnancy outcome.

So when it comes to sex positions when TTC, stick with what is most enjoyable for you and your partner.

Read More: Best Sex Positions to Get Pregnant– a Scientific Concept or Just a Myth?

FAQs about sperm and pregnancy

Can you feel sperm moving inside you?

You may feel the wetness of semen inside your vagina after sexual intercourse. But sperm are so tiny. You will not feel them moving around.

How long does sperm need to sit in you to get pregnant?

It can take between 5 and 20 minutes for sperm to travel from the vagina to the fallopian tube where a pregnancy could begin.

Can you still get pregnant if the sperm comes out?

When a man ejaculates, there are hundreds of millions of sperm (unless the man has a low sperm count). It is normal for some semen to leak out of the vagina after unprotected sex. But a large number of sperm will still enter the female reproductive tract. 

Pre-ejaculate enters the vagina and it contains sperm which can lead to pregnancy. This isn’t too common, but it is possible.
Read More : Semen Health: How To Produce More Sperm?

How do you keep sperm inside you to get pregnant?

The body has natural functions that help the sperm travel to an egg. One study has shown that laying still for 15 minutes may improve chances of sperm leading to conception. However, this helped increase the chances only in assisted reproductive techniques. If you are trying to conceive naturally, you don’t need to keep your legs raised or lie down. Sperm deposited near the cervix mid-cycle can reach the fallopian tubes within 15 minutes. This occurs regardless of the position you are in. 


  • Sperm face many obstacles while making their way through the female reproductive tract.
  • Cervical mucus, a sperm plug, and the structure of the reproductive tract all aid the sperm in reaching an egg.
  • It takes between 5 and 20 minutes for sperm to reach the fallopian tubes. This is where fertilization occurs.
  • There are many myths about helping sperm reach an egg. But many of them have not been proven to help a woman’s body with conception.
  • The best way to confirm whether sperm went inside is to track your cycle. Know your body, and watch for signs of implantation or pregnancy.
  • Your body naturally acts to help sperm fertilize an egg. So just have fun when trying to conceive and forget all the science! 
  • And remember, it only takes only one sperm to fertilize an egg.

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