This website has been developed and fully funded by Bayer plc for a UK audience only. Disclaimer and side effect reporting information can be found at the bottom of the page.

Withdrawal method

Withdrawal method


Other names: pull out method


what is the withdrawal method?

This method (also known as the pull-out method) involves removing the penis from inside the vagina before ejaculation to minimize the risk of sperm entering the vagina and reaching the egg.

Withdrawal method


The withdrawal method is a type of natural method of contraception


The withdrawal method belongs to a group of contraception called natural methods. Natural methods of contraception include fertility awareness methods, the lactational amenorrhoea method and the withdrawal (pull out) method. They are natural because they do not involve hormones, chemicals or manmade substances.

How does the withdrawal method work?


The withdrawal method involves taking the penis out of the vagina before the man's climax (ejaculation).


This reduces the amount of sperm entering the vagina and attempts to minimize the risk of sperm reaching the egg.

How effective is the withdrawal method?

Not all sperm are released during ejaculation. Pre-ejaculate, or 'pre-cum', contains some sperm so even if the pull out-method is used correctly, you could still get pregnant. It can also require a lot of self-control and trust, and therefore it can be an unreliable method of contraception. As such, your doctor or nurse are not likely to recommend it as a method of contraception.


Typically, the withdrawal method is 78% effective at preventing pregnancy but can be up to 96% effective if done perfectly.





women icon

Approximately 4 out of every 100 women in a year will experience an unintended pregnancy.




women icon

Approximately 22 out of every 100 women in a year will experience an unintended pregnancy.

    No. The withdrawal method is hormone-free.

    Most people can use the withdrawal method. However, as it can be unreliable, it may not be the best choice if you definitely do not want to get pregnant.

    GP visit

    Talking to your doctor

    Get the information you need for an informed discussion with your doctor.


    Learn more

    PP-UN-WHC-GB-0085 September 2023


    The health information on this site has been reviewed and approved by Bayer by an appropriately qualified medical reviewer. It is intended as general information only. It is not intended to replace a consultation with a healthcare professional, to provide specific medical advice or replace the patient information leaflet provided with your medicine. Treatments discussed here should be initiated under medical supervision. For full information including side effects and eligibility for treatment, please consult your healthcare professional. Always speak to your doctor or nurse for personal medical advice.


    Images on this site are stock images and for illustrative purposes only.


    Reporting side effects

    If you get any side effects whilst taking a medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the package leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the yellow card scheme at By reporting side effects, you can help provide more information on the safety of medicines.