Condom Failure? Pregnant Using Condoms

Pregnant Using Condoms

1324140392 | Prostock-studio |

Why You Can Get Pregnant While Using Condoms and the Likelihood of This Happening

  • Pregnant, even if you used a condom — how often does this happen? Between 2-12 in 100 women become pregnant using condoms as their sole contraceptive measure for one year.
  • The most common reasons are material defects or mistakes in usage, e.g., choosing a size too small, causing the condom to tear.
  • Are you concerned you may be pregnant despite using a condom? Or perhaps you just found out you are pregnant? This article is for you.

🤰🏻 "Could I be pregnant?" — Take the Online Pregnancy Test!

Pregnancy with Condom: Probability, Causes, and Experiences

Pregnancies despite condoms are more common than expected. Condoms, like all contraceptives, do not guarantee complete pregnancy protection.

Chances of Getting Pregnant with a Condom

The Pearl Index measures the effectiveness of contraceptive methods. Its rate for the effectiveness of condoms is 2-12.

This means two to twelve in 100 women become pregnant while using a condom exclusively for one year.

Surprise Pregnancy Due to Condom Failure — Causes

Incorrect use and material defects are the leading causes of condoms tearing or leaking. There are multiple reasons for condom failure leading to a surprise pregnancy.

Surprise Pregnancy with Condom — Stories

Contraceptive failures are sometimes immediately apparent; at other times, they may only be noticed after intercourse. Surprise pregnancies without visibly torn condoms are rare. Pregnancies seldom happen when the pull-out method is used with a condom, i.e., he did not ejaculate inside her but removed his condom-sheathed penis beforehand.

Since no contraceptive is 100 percent safe, women repeatedly report becoming pregnant despite their partner using a condom perfectly.

This is Lisa's* story, which she related to her Profemina counselor:

"I am in a happy relationship which began six months ago. We use a mix of natural family planning (NFP) and condoms for contraception. Unfortunately, our condom broke a few Sundays ago. Since my period was three days late, I took a test today. And it was... positive!"

Pregnancy Scare Despite Protected Sex...

You may be reading this article because you are worried that something "happened" despite using a condom. This would be a very stressful concern!

Take a deep breath! Consider the exact reason for your suspicion: Did something go wrong with the condom? Are you noticing any signs of pregnancy? Is your period late? Perhaps this is causing you to feel anxious.

Even if the condom slipped, tore, or got stuck, this does not necessarily mean that you have become pregnant. Whether this lack of contraception may have led you to conceive depends upon whether you had sex during your fertile window.

For more information, go to:

💊 Wondering whether to take the morning-after pill? Take the test!

How to Deal with the Uncertainty

Pregnant Despite Safe Sex — Now What?

If you just found out you are pregnant despite having used a condom, you might be wondering where to go from here. You are probably still reeling from the shock. The contraceptive failure may have gone completely unnoticed, making the surprise all the greater. You are probably flooded by all kinds of thoughts, questions, and emotions right now.

Three things to consider:

  1. 🕰 Take the time you need in order to make a good decision. Don't allow anyone or anything to put you under pressure! Instead, weigh all the options carefully. Step by step, discern the choice you can feel good about in the long run.
  2. ❤️ A good decision is made with heart and mind as equal partners. Don’t ignore your heart! Take your emotions as well as your thoughts into consideration. Ask yourself: What do I want? Could this difficult situation also hold an opportunity?
  3. 👩‍💻 You don't have to walk through this challenging time alone. Can you think of a safe person you would like to entrust yourself to? If you would like guidance during this time but can't think of anyone to approach, take one of the following tests and receive an immediate professional evaluation. The goal of these tests is to create a judgment-free setting in which you will have the freedom to find the path that is right for you:


  • Like all contraceptives, a condom does not provide perfect protection against pregnancy. Pregnancy despite a condom can be attributed to application errors (wrong size, wrong covering, damage during unpacking) and, occasionally, material defects. These cause the condom to tear or leak. The so-called Pearl Index for condoms is 2-12, i.e., between 2 and 12 in 100 women who use this method of contraception exclusively for a year become pregnant.

  • If the condom has torn, it is possible that you could get pregnant. When you notice the "contraceptive failure," rinse with clear water or urinate to flush sperm and any pathogens out of the vagina. Other factors also play a role in whether a pregnancy is possible, e.g., whether the contraceptive failure happened during your fertile window. Take a pregnancy test to gain absolute certainty! You can take the test approximately 14 days after the sexual intercourse in question or as soon as your period is late.

    If you are wondering whether the morning-after pill would be an option, click here for more information and decision-making tools.

  • A condom is no longer safe once the expiration date has passed. In this case, it should not be used.

    Effectiveness is also compromised if the material is damaged (e.g., by sunlight, heat, or sharp objects). Incorrect use or the wrong size can also render a condom ineffective.

Our Top Picks for You:

Was this article helpful?