People have wondered if it’s possible to get pregnant from sperm in swimming pools for many, many years now.
There have also been numerous hoaxes about girls getting pregnant from sperm in swimming pools.
Let’s take a look at the origin of this urban legend and find out, scientifically, why it is not possible to get pregnant from sperm in swimming pools.
Origin Of The Sperm In Swimming Pool Urban Legend
All this sperma-hysteria likely originated in a 2009 lawsuit brought by a Polish mother, Magdalena Kwiatkowska, against an Egyptian hotel.
She alleged that her 13-year old daughter got pregnant by “stray sperm after taking a dip in the hotel’s mixed pool“. She was adamant that her daughter did not have sex during their stay.
Ridiculous? Perhaps. But it hasn’t stopped the story of girls getting pregnant by stray sperm in swimming pools from spreading and mutating into all sorts of viral posts and articles.
Let us show you, scientifically, why this is really not possible at all.
Sperm Are Delicate Little Buggers
Let’s ignore the fact that it would be quite difficult for a boy to jerk off and ejaculate into a crowded pool without anyone else noticing it.
Even if a dozen boys actually lined up along the sides and ejaculated into a pool full of nubile girls, they won’t get pregnant.
Sperm cells are actually quite delicate. They are easily destroyed or damaged by changes in pH, temperature, chemicals, exposure, etc.
That’s why the male ejaculate (semen) consists mostly of seminal plasma, fructose and other substances – all designed to protect the sperm cells against the hostile environment of a female vagina.
Sperm that are ejaculated into a swimming pool immediately lose the protective fluids in the semen, and are quickly rendered unviable by the chlorine or bromine used to sanitise the water.
The much cooler temperature of a swimming pool’s water will also quickly reduce their lifespan and motility.
Sperm Are Not Homing Torpedoes
Although sex education videos make sperm cells look like homing torpedoes, they do not travel in a straight line or even in the same direction.
Sperm cells have chemical receptors to help them “home” onto the ovum (egg), but this only happens in the immediate vicinity of the ovum – literally the home stretch.
For most of the journey, they are helped in the right direction by uterine contraction. Even then, most of them will not make it.
Many will go around in circles, go up the wrong Fallopian tube, or even go in the opposite direction. That’s why there are millions of them in the ejaculate.
Videos that show sperm cells swimming quickly are meant to be illustrative, not literal. In truth, sperm cells are slow pokes – they propel themselves at a sedate 1-4 mm per minute.
That’s a maximum speed of 24 cm per hour, and it decreases with time and changes in pH, temperature and environment.
It would take 208 hours or just over 8.5 days for a very athletic sperm cell in ideal conditions to swim the length of a standard swimming pool.
In reality, the sperm cells would probably die in the first minute in the hostile environment of the swimming pool. It is very unlikely for any sperm cell to survive long enough to get further than 1 cm on its own power.
Sperm Cannot Pass Through Solid Barriers
Sperm cells cannot pass through solid matter like Kitty Pryde. Physical barriers will prevent them from impregnating any eggs in the immediate neighbourhood.
That’s the principle behind barrier contraceptives like the condom and the cervical cap.
Even if a boy ejaculates right next to a girl’s crotch in a swimming pool, the sperm cells would have to pass through the water-soaked swimwear, and the girl’s closed labia. Beyond that is the hostile environment of the vagina.
In other words, there is no way for any sperm cell in a swimming pool to get through two physical barriers and survive a chemical barrier.
That’s why human sexual reproduction involves penetrative sex using a penis to deliver the sperm deep inside the vagina.
Girls Are Not Fertile All The Time
A nubile (sexually-mature) girl will be fertile for about 6-7 days in each menstrual cycle which is typically 28-days long. If a girl has random, unprotected sex, she is only at risk of getting pregnant on 25% of those days.
For 16 girls to get pregnant in an actual sex orgy, statistically there would have to be at least 64 girls at the orgy having unprotected sex with fertile men.
Of course, this is a best case scenario. Roughly 30-50% of all conceptions do not actually result in a pregnancy, so realistically there should be 83-96 girls having unprotected sex with fertile men to have a real chance of producing 16 viable pregnancies.
This fantastic hoax claims that there were 16 out of 32 girls at the birthday party were impregnated by a single boy after he ejaculated into the swimming pool. Even assuming all 32 girls had a sex orgy (instead of a pool party), only 6-8 of them would likely end up pregnant.
What is the chance of a nubile girl getting pregnant from swimming in a pool after a boy ejaculates into it? ZERO.
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