Slip Sliding Away

A Qualified Yes

When a couple becomes hyper-focused on trying to get pregnant, every issue gains in significance and questions are asked about the most mundane aspects of the process—especially when months go by and nothing happens. Sometimes these questions have merit. For instance, if you have trouble with vaginal dryness and find yourself resorting to artificial lubricants, you may wonder if your brand of lubricant is part of the trouble and may even be keeping you from achieving pregnancy. You're thinking that a given lubricant might be harmful to sperm. That's a reasonable assumption and the answer to this question is a qualified yes.

Most water-based vaginal lubricants do have a negative effect on sperm. This is not to say that such lubricants can be substituted for contraceptive means. Lubricants should never be confused with spermicidal agents for while lubricants may damage sperm, they do not afford full protection against pregnancy.

Even so, lubricants tend to have a negative impact on sperm so if you're trying to conceive you may want to avoid the lubricants on the shelves at your local pharmacy. There is one lubricant called Pre-seed that is designed not to harm sperm. This lubricant is sold in many countries.

Motility and Longevity

Lubricants have an affect on the motility and longevity of sperm. A report was published in the International Journal of Fertility and Menopausal Studies on a study performed in 1996 that looked at the impact of several commercial personal lubricants on sperm viability and motility. Among the lubricants that were studied were K-Y Jelly, Astroglide, Touch, and Replens. Two oils were also tested, one of them canola oil. Sperm samples were mixed with lubricants and the effects were measured at intervals of 1, 15, 30, and 60 minutes.

Sperm motility was inhibited by all four commercial preparations within one hour by a rate of 60-100%. The effect was not dissimilar to common spermicidal preparations that contain nonoxynol-9, found in most contraceptive creams, jellies, and foams.

Canola oil was found to have no negative effects on sperm, but the use of this oil is messy and might stain bedding.

An independent chemist has suggested that the salinity of lubricants, along with preservatives and a PH balance that differs from that of human females, could be the cause of damaged sperm.

So, if you want to get pregnant and you need or want to use a lubricant, you don't have a lot of choices. You can try to locate Pre-seed, or try some of the homemade options such as egg whites, glycerin, or ground flax seed cooked in water.

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