Condom Failure: Could Partner Be Pregnant

My girlfriend ended her period on a Monday, and we had intercourse the next Friday using condoms with spermicide. The condom fell off. Three days later, a home pregnancy test was negative. Was it to early to take a pregnancy test? Doesn't a women have a few days of infertility after ending her period? Could my girlfriend be pregnant?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

What good questions. A woman's cycle is calculated from first day of menses to first day of the next menses. An average period lasts about four to seven days; ovulation usually occurs about day 14, counting from the first day of the period. If your partner has regular periods every 28 days, and nothing happens that month to disrupt this, then there probably are a few days when she would not be fertile after the end of the period. This is a pretty big "if," however. Remember that the sperm can live 72 hours, so they can hang around waiting for ovulation. This is why counting days is not a reliable method of birth control; there are too many variables involved.

When a spermicidal condom breaks, the spermicide does significantly reduce the chances of live sperm entering the uterus. However, it would have been best for her to seek emergency contraception. This involves taking four birth control pills (Nordette or Lo-Ovral) within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse and taking four more 12 hours later. This is a very effective method if used within 72 hours. Any family planning clinic or Planned Parenthood clinic would be happy to provide this.

As long as she is very regular and her menses do not last longer than five days, I would calculate that she PROBABLY was not mid-cycle at the time the condom broke. If her cycles are longer, the chances are even better that she was not ovulatory. Just remember to add in the days of the period to the equation.

It might be a good idea to get on an additional method of birth control such as pills or Depo Provera to decrease your risks of an accidental pregnancy.

A home test should be positive about 10 to 14 days from conception, so it would have been a bit too early to be positive. She should repeat it at about the time the period would be due.

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