Couples trying to conceive can face a number of challenges and pressures. They may face social pressures brought on by well intended friends and family. They can face their own internal pressures if they feel that they are not achieving their goals in a timely fashion. Problems related to intimacy can also remain a hurdle. For men, this can include issues of erectile dysfunction. For women, it can include difficulties with vaginal dryness and or pain with sex, also called dyspareunia. The solution to this latter problem for many couples is to use a lubricant with sex, but although lubricants can help the problem at hand, can they also interfere with conception?
With every year that passes, new products become available to women who require the assistance of a vaginal lubricant to help improve symptoms of vaginal dryness or dyspareunia. In fact, it may be that vaginal dryness is actually more prevalent in couples that are trying to conceive than it is among couples in general. But concerns exist regarding the effects of these products, specifically their potential toxic effects on sperm and their possible interference with conception.
In the April issue of Fertility and Sterility, authors Sandhu, Wong et al examined the in vitro effects of several lubricants on sperm motility. [Fertil Steril 101(4)941-4]
Semen samples were incubated in buffer to serve as a control as well as a 10% solution of various lubricants and motility was tested after a period of incubation.
The lubricants tested were:
Findings revewled that only pre-Seed, canola, mustard and baboidy oils showed no significant negative effects on sperm motility. The commercial products of Astroglide and all KY products, as well as sesame oil, by comparison, showed significant impairment of sperm motility under these artificial conditions.
Given the artificial conditions of the study, it may not be possible to definitively conclude that there are negative effects of Astroglide and KY products; however the safety of Pre-Seed seems to be supported.