If you've been trying to conceive (TTC) but have nothing to show for months of trying, it's time to take a closer look at your love life to see if you can identify the barrier between you and that baby. It may be as simple as having sex at a more fertile time of your cycle, or abstaining from sex for a couple of days so your partner's sperm count can rebuild. Or the problem may be your lubricant.

Pleasure And Pain

Vaginal dryness can be a fact of life for some women, and applying a lubricant can make the difference between pleasure and pain during a lovemaking session. But many women don't realize that most lubricants can harm sperm. That said, while most water-based lubricants are hostile to sperm, in no way should they be considered adequate contraception. Lubricants are not spermicides and do not protect you against pregnancy. Most of them do have an adverse affect on sperm, though, and it's important to be aware of this issue when planning conception.

There is one lubricant on the market that is designed not to harm sperm. This lubricant is called Pre-Seed and is available in several countries. Pre-Seed is the only water-based lubricant that is a safe substitute for a woman's own vaginal secretions when trying to conceive.

Canola Oil

The idea that lubricants are harmful to sperm is not a new one. A study performed back in 1996 measured the harmful effects of the various types of commercial lubricants on sperm motility and longevity. Some of the lubricants studied include K-Y Jelly, Touch, Replens, and Astroglide. In addition to these lubricants, two oils were tested, among them regular kitchen-quality canola oil. The various preparations and substances were mixed with sperm and the effects were measured at intervals of 1, 15, 30, and 60 minutes.

All of the four commercial preparations tested in the study proved to inhibit sperm motility within the space of an hour at a rate of 60-100%. This result is comparable with that of the most common spermicidal agents containing nonoxynol-9. Nonoxynol-9 is found in most contraceptive foams, jellies, and creams. Of the various lubricants tested, only canola oil was found to have no measurable impact on sperm, though most couples would find the oil stains bedding and is messy to use. The results of the 1996 study were published in International Journal of Fertility and Menopausal Studies.

At least one independent chemist has made the suggestion that the lubricants may be too saline and that this salinity, added to the fact of preservatives and a PH balance that is different from that of female humans may be the reason for their adverse affect on sperm. A possible alternative may be found in a homemade option created from natural ingredients found in your own kitchen. Some popular options include egg whites, glycerin, or ground flax seed cooked in water.

Sperm Friendly

It's unfortunate that the manufacturers producing commercial lubricants have not addressed the problem of sperm damage incurred during the use of their products. Pre-Seed is the only commercial lubricant available that is designed to imitate a woman's own cervical mucus and is therefore a sperm-friendly product. The lubricant is still not in wide distribution so you may need to search the internet for a source.

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