Are Lubricants and Infertility Connected?
Once you and your partner have decided to have a baby there are many things to remember about what you should and shouldn’t do. You may be questioning lubricants and just what effect they have on both male and female infertility.
Many couples who are trying to conceive a baby use a lubricant to relieve vaginal dryness. What they don’t take into consideration is that personal lubricants are linked to infertility problems since they can affect sperm in a few ways: low sperm count, decreased sperm mobility, and sperm health.
Lubricants change the vaginal environment from one that is necessary for conception to take place, to an environment that is harmful and damaging to male sperm.
Lubricants for Vaginal Dryness
Many couples who are trying to get pregnant have a problem with vaginal dryness. Up to 75 percent of couples report that when they are trying to conceive, they have increased vaginal dryness.
These increased incidents of dryness are most likely due to the added stress of having timed intercourse and the stress of not getting pregnant as soon as they would like.
As well, if a couple is taking fertility medications vaginal dryness and discomfort can become even more of an issue, as this dryness is a side effect of many fertility drugs.
What most of these couples don’t realize is that using lubricants for dryness is only adding to their infertility problems. They may have been trying for up to a year to get pregnant without realizing that their lubricant just might be the problem.
Vaginal Lubricants and Fertility
Many couples use vaginal lubricants to deal with vaginal dryness when having intercourse. When you’re trying to get pregnant, vaginal dryness can become a huge problem since at the time of ovulation you’re most likely having more frequent and scheduled intercourse.
Studies show that for up to 70 percent of couples who are trying to conceive, that dryness is an issue for them. Vaginal lubricants can help with the dryness problem but can create an even bigger problem of their own.
Research indicates that when vaginal lubricants are combined with sperm, the functionality of the sperm can be severely diminished and decreased the chances of the egg being fertilized.
The motility of the sperm can be affected by creating problems for the sperm even being able to reach the egg as well. For those couples who are having difficulty getting pregnant using the wrong type of lubricant can create even more of a problem.
Popular Brands of Lubricants Inhibit Fertility
Continuing studies point toward the negative impact on fertility when using some of the most popular brands of lubricants. This includes K-Y Jelly, Replens, and Astroglide.
These brands of lubricants are chemical based and can, therefore, harm conception. Sperm mobility is best when the pH value of the cervical mucus is somewhere between 7.0 and 8.5.
When couples used vaginal lubricants, the pH value of the mucus was less than 7.0, leading to a distinct decline in sperm mobility.
In order for conception to happen, the sperm needs to be mobile enough to penetrate right through the cervical mucus so that they can move on to the fallopian tubes and fertilize the egg.
Lubricants can inhibit sperm mobility and decrease the number of sperm which is able to penetrate the cervix, decreasing the chances of the egg being fertilized.
The damaging effect on sperm when using lubricants and infertility is well documented, however, so many medical professionals seem to overlook the facts.
Some of this is misrepresentation by the lubricant manufacturers themselves who fail to disclose the harmful effects their products can have on fertility.
Are there Safe Lubricants that Won’t Affect Fertility?
The best type of lubricant is natural: cervical mucus. However, when there isn’t enough cervical mucus for intercourse to be pain-free, many couples turn to personal vaginal lubricants.
The only lubricant so far that has been tested that is considered to be “sperm friendly” is Pre-Seed. This product was specifically developed to address the issue of relieving vaginal dryness without doing harm to the sperm.
Some couples decide to turn to natural lubricants once they find out how harmful chemical based lubricants are to their fertility. This includes baby oil, vegetable oil, and egg whites.
While using natural lubricants may seem like a good alternative, they come with their own risks. You may end up with an infection or a severe allergic reaction to natural products.
If you and your partner don’t want to use a sperm friendly product such as Pre-Seed you’ll need to let nature take its course and rely on the body’s own natural lubricant.
This may mean taking a bit more time when it comes to foreplay. Using an ovulation predictor kit so you’ll be able to determine ahead of time when you’re ovulating. As much as possible try to make having intercourse on schedule as pleasant and stress-free as possible.