Thank you for your question and for your candor. I understand from what you write that this is a stressful time for both yourself and your girlfriend. You are describing to me a situation in which you and your girlfriend engaged in oral sex and where, as far as either of you could tell, there was no ejaculate that entered her vagina. You and your girlfriend are wondering whether she may be pregnant because her period did not start on the expected date.
Although it only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg, a lot of sperm need to be deposited into the vagina in order for fertilization to occur. It is estimated that out of the 200 million sperm that are deposited into the vagina during vaginal ejaculation, only 200 swim close enough to the egg to be able to fertilize it. If sperm are outside of the body, they will not survive if the medium they are in (the ejaculate itself) dries out. According to the situation you describe, I would say that it is extremely unlikely that your girlfriend would be pregnant.
However, pregnancy is a life-altering event and so your concern is valid. You say that your girlfriend is about “7 days late.” At this time, a home pregnancy test, which is available in pharmacies without a prescription, would usually be accurate enough to detect a pregnancy. If your girlfriend decides to use this test and it is positive, she would need to go to her doctor or to a clinic to have her pregnancy confirmed by a blood test and to explore her options in terms of abortion or carrying the pregnancy to term with perhaps eventual adoption. Your support and respect of her wishes will be important at this time. Support of social workers, psychologists, other trusted health care professionals and/or family may be important to make some of these decisions and you and her should not be afraid to seek out this help if it is needed.
According to what you describe, it is more likely that your girlfriend is experiencing normal menstrual cycle variability, especially since you say that your girlfriend’s periods have been somewhat irregular recently. A menstrual cycle starts on the first day of menstruation and ends on the day prior to the next menstruation. A normal cycle length is approximately 25 to 32 days.
Ovulation occurs between day 12 and 16 of the cycle and the ovum (or egg) needs to be fertilized 24 to 48 hours after ovulation for conception to occur. However, a menstrual cycle varies in length throughout the lifetime. For example, periods are usually more irregular in the first few years after the onset of menstruation as well as closer to menopause. Other factors, like stress, may affect cycle length. Some people have regular cycles whereas others say that they can never quite predict when their periods will start. These variations are usually a normal part of reproductive life.
If your girlfriend is experiencing very irregular cycles, heavy or painful bleeding during menstruation, or any other symptom that she finds disturbing, she should consult her doctor. Only he or she will be able to ask the right questions, properly assess the situation, and prescribe medication (like pills to control pain or to regularize the cycle) if appropriate.
The variability in normal menstrual cycles means that determining when a someone is ovulating by calculating which day of their cycle it is is not very accurate and is usually not a dependable contraceptive method. If you and your girlfriend decide to have penetrative vaginal intercourse, both of you should be aware of the available contraceptive options and chose one that is appropriate. A doctor or nurse at your local clinic or at your school may be a valuable resource since there are pros and cons to every method and since some methods are more reliable than others. Available options include, but are not limited to, condoms, oral contraceptive pills, the vaginal ring (“NuvaRing”), the contraceptive patch, intra-uterine devices (IUDs), injectable medication (“Depo-Provera”), and the cervical cap used with spermicide.
Please remember that condoms are the best, but not full-proof, protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphillis, HIV and others. They should be used during anal and vaginal penetrative intercourse as well as during fellatio in order to decrease the risk of STI transmission. However certain STIs like syphilis or genital herpes can be acquired simply by genital skin contact and partners may not necessarily be protected if they use condoms. Please consult your doctor if you have any concerns about possible STIs.
You may have heard of “the morning after pill,” also called “Plan B” in Canada. This treatment consists of 2 pills taken up to 72 hours after unprotected vaginal intercourse and prevents pregnancy. It is most effective if it is taken within 24 hours of unprotected vaginal intercourse. In Canada, Plan B is available without a prescription, but is kept “behind the counter,” meaning that you need to ask your pharmacist for it.
Deciding to be sexually intimate with someone may have many emotional and/or physical ramifications. From what you write it seems that you are already in touch with some of these. Talking with your girlfriend not only about the physical consequences like pregnancy and STIs but also about how this whole experience has made both of you feel may help you deal with the situation and also help you better prepare for the future.
I hope this answer has been helpful. Please feel free to contact us again if you have any other questions,
Rimma, for AlterHeroes