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Withdrawal method - how reliable?

(38 Posts)
GrassW1dow Tue 23-Aug-16 13:41:11

Assuming you're in the ovulation stage of your cycle, how reliable, on average, is the withdrawal method?

1% risk of conception?
0.01% or more like?

McBaby Tue 23-Aug-16 13:45:44

Worked for me the only 3 times we have not withdrawn within 4 days of ovulating I have got pregnant. Otherwise withdrawal during ovulation has worked for a couple of years for me.

glorious Tue 23-Aug-16 13:49:44

According to the FPA, 22% of women relying on it will get pregnant each year of use. So over the course of the year it's a 22% risk of conception.

Jodie1982 Tue 23-Aug-16 19:46:52

I'm Currently 19+3 with a baby conceived by withdrawal method. Oooops. grin

physicskate Tue 23-Aug-16 22:33:02

It seems as though some men secrete sperm in pre-cum and thus conception can occur almost unhindered by the withdrawal method. Some men do not have sperm in pre-cum and this it is a more successful 'method' of contraception for them.

How can you tell which type your partner is? Unknown.

PacificDogwod Tue 23-Aug-16 22:34:36

Withdrawal 'method' = trying to conceive

It's not a method of contraception, it's a method of deluding yourself. Or your partner coercing you to having unprotected sex.

5madthings Tue 23-Aug-16 22:36:55

My withdrawl technique baby, four months old. Baby number six for us, should know better!

lady2016 Tue 23-Aug-16 22:48:48

Me and dh used it for two yrs only fell pregnant when stopped using it but we knew that it wasn't the end of the world if I did fall pregnant .I am on the implant now cos we can't have moresad

blueistheonlycolourwefeel Tue 23-Aug-16 22:51:20

Are you 14?

MamOfTwo Tue 23-Aug-16 22:54:00

That is one cute baby, 5madthings! Or should that be 6madthings?!

haveacupoftea Tue 23-Aug-16 22:54:34

We used it for two years without conceiving. We didn't really mind if I got pregnant though.

wellwewell Wed 24-Aug-16 21:30:37

Not disputing that it is unreliable in general but I think the reliability for individual couples probably varies a lot.

My partner and I have relied successfully on the withdrawal method for 10 years. In that time I have conceived (quickly) only when we were actively trying.

We're not 14 ;) We're late 30s/early 40s and both university educated - PhD level for one of us. That doesn't mean we're intelligent I grant you!

Obviously to have any chance of working the male needs to be capable of withdrawing in time every time - regardless of inebriation etc.
I haven't ever heard before that some men don't have sperm in pre-cum! Must look that up.

In our case we certainly were not trying to conceive when using withdrawal. We were however in a position where an unplanned pregnancy would not have been the end of the world.

Once our family is complete we will probably opt for vasectomy even though to date withdrawal has never left us down. Never say never etc.

GrassW1dow Wed 24-Aug-16 21:42:09

to those posters who fell pregnant using the withdrawal method - did your DP fail to withdraw fully in time? (i.e. was the conception because they didn't do the withdrawal method properly?) or did conception occur despite withdrawing in time?

not 14...mid 30s and mid 50s.

Lou2711 Wed 24-Aug-16 21:51:50

40+5 with my withdrawal babygrin. Me and dp used it for some months without prob but, stupidly we were drunk and he must have not got out in time without us realising. Ah well!!

PacificDogwod Wed 24-Aug-16 21:53:32


Whether he withdraws 'in time' i.e. before obvious ejaculation or not is almost irrelevant - ejaculate containing semen cells can escape before orgasm/ejaculation.
'Technique' has very little to do with it.

Is there a particular reason you cannot/don't want to use reliable contraception?

GrassW1dow Wed 24-Aug-16 21:58:59

I don't much like the pill or other hormone based contraceptive methods (but don't rule them out....just if there's an alternative I'd rather go for that).

Tried non-hormonal coil. Hated it.

Don't always have condoms in the house/with us so started to use withdrawal instead

PacificDogwod Wed 24-Aug-16 22:02:22

Well, if you don't mind falling pregnant, then keep going, but don't kid yourself that withdrawal has any kind of certainty of avoiding unwanted pregnancy longterm (see the above quoted FDA figures).

Have you heard of the Billing's method?
It is natural family planning with science and evidence to back it up, not woo.
You'd need to find a local trainer, but family planning clinics can usually advise.

Just out of curiosity, what did you not like about the copper coil? I love mind smile - or rather I don't know it's there and it seems to be doing the trick...

5madthings Wed 24-Aug-16 22:09:04

Oh we did it properly but clearly some swimmers still got to where they needed to be!

Tbf we are a very fertile couple the other 5matching all conceived very easily, ds1 was a one off and the others all the first month of trying so really we knew it wasn't the best idea but we weren't too bothered by the idea of another baby. We are totally done now though.

And yes mamoftwo it should be 6madthings now smile and he is super cute, love him to bits he has completed our family but oh my I had forgotten how knackering it is.

Basically only use withdrawal if you don't mind having a baby.

I can't use hormonal contraception, not sure re coil and given the nightmare of madthing6's birth I have decided it's dhs turn so he can have the snip.

LeonardInTheArgosBag Wed 24-Aug-16 22:09:45

We used it for about seven years. The two times I fell pregnant were planned and I was pregnant within two months each time.

burtburt Wed 24-Aug-16 22:16:34

We also used it for 7 years, got pregnant the first time we tried. Then another 3 years, and got pregnant with our second the first we tried! Works a treat for us, and we're obv very fertile. But my partner pulls out before he comes and he's very good at doing that! I think some men find that much harder..

glorious Wed 24-Aug-16 22:17:23

NFP can be pretty reliable. I believe sympto-thermal is more reliable than Billings but I can't provide a link for that as it's in a book I have. They are similar but sympto-thermal also involves taking your waking temperature and can also involve changes in your cervix. Simplistically, more signs = less chance of being wrong!

Taking charge of your fertility is a great book on sympto-thermal, though it is best to find a teacher.

PacificDogwod Wed 24-Aug-16 22:19:00

Ooh, "sympto-thermal' - I've not heard of that, interesting.

I think a teacher is the way to go IME.

glorious Wed 24-Aug-16 22:23:35

FPA on natural family planning (describes sympto-thermal though).

They say 1% risk of pregnancy if done right. That's quite a big if for NFP as doing it right is harder than, say, the pill.

But I'm a big fan.

Pacific for some reason it's less well known than Billings, I guess because it's newer? Anyway, is worth a browse if you're curious.

Waitingformiracles Wed 24-Aug-16 22:36:59

I will second symptothermal methods. Used it for years with barrier methods/ withdrawal when ovulating with success.

As mentioned above, the book "taking charge of your fertility" is a good place to start. If you do go for it though remember to do 3 cycles with protection while you learn the method before you go unprotected.

NeedAnotherGlass Wed 24-Aug-16 23:25:55

Natural Family Planning can be very effective, but it does take a lot of work.

Withdrawal is not a method of contraception, it's gambling and hoping you stay lucky. And it doesn't just come down to how much control the man has.

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