Trying to Conceive? These Lubricants Won’t Hurt Your Chances
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If you and your partner are trying to conceive, you know there’s a lot more science than art involved in getting pregnant. From ovulation predictor kits to fertility tracking apps and at-home sperm-testing kits, making a baby should be easier than ever, yet many couples struggle with getting pregnant.
Trying to Get Pregnant: A Numbers Game
Whether it’s due to hormonal imbalances, poor timing, male infertility, or simply for unexplained reasons, some couples have trouble conceiving. Even under ideal conditions, a monthly baby dance with your partner only gives you a 15 to 20 percent chance at best of achieving pregnancy in a particular month, says Dr. Paul Shin, Director of Reproductive Urology at Shady Grove Fertility and a board member of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology.
RELATED: Trying to Conceive: Male Fertility Guide
Trying to Get Pregnant: When to See Your Doctor
When it comes to getting pregnant, the male’s contribution is just as important as the female’s. For couples where the female partner is under the age of 35, testing, including semen analysis, is often recommended if a pregnancy hasn’t happened after a year of trying. For couples where the female partner is over the age of 35, testing should begin after 6 months of trying with no pregnancy, says Shin.
“Testing is pretty easy to do.,” he says. “Couples need to understand that it is essentially a 50/50 split. It definitely takes two to tango, and you have things on the male side, you have things on the female side. And you have to approach them both individually and as a couple to really figure out your optimal solution for helping couples conceive.”
Male fertility is impacted by a number of factors, including:
- Previous history of undescended testes
- Testicular tumors
- Testicular surgery
- Chemotherapy or radiation
- Steroid use
- Advanced age
- Alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
- Wearing underwear that is too tight
- Overusing saunas or hot tubs
RELATED: How to Increase Sperm Count
Can Lube Help You Get Pregnant?
While using conventional lubricants when you’re trying to conceive won’t necessarily prevent you from getting pregnant, fertility experts recommend skipping lube entirely if you can – as some types may be too viscous (that is, thick) for sperm to swim through. They can also cause DNA damage to the sperm itself, or even kill the sperm.
“If someone has good, strong, and healthy sperm they might be fine, but if someone has poor sperm you don’t want anything to affect them because every sperm becomes extremely important,” says Dr. Zaher Merhi, an OB-GYN and the Director of Research and Development in IVF Technologies at New Hope Fertility Center.
That said, many couples find that sex is more fun and comfortable with a little bit of lube. Both docs agree that since stress from trying to conceive and fertility drugs can lead to vaginal dryness, improving comfort isn’t a bad thing. “My advice to couples is I would still rather have you use a little bit of whatever lubricant you’re using, and have more comfortable intercourse, versus avoiding anything at all,” says Shin.
“Practically speaking, if you use a little bit of lube, and you’ve got a reasonable amount of motile sperm, I don’t think it’s going to be a deal breaker.”
Why Use Lube When Trying to Conceive
If you’re planning to start or grow your family, you can help optimize your chances of getting pregnant by swapping conventional lubricants for specially-designed fertility-friendly lubricants.
A fertility-friendly lubricant is one that will not affect or damage sperm function, quality, or motility. At a minimum, it should not contain a spermatotoxin, and is ideally water-based, says Dr. Merhi.
“A lot of couples use lubricant, and it’s very important to know which lubricants are sperm-friendly, and which ones are not,” he says.
What Makes a Lubricant ‘Fertility-Friendly’?
The American Pregnancy Association notes the following conditions for a lubricant to be cleared by the FDA as fertility-friendly:
“The product must be tested extensively to ensure that is safe for sperm, eggs, and embryos. And, once the products are on the market, the manufacturer of the fertility lubricant is required to test each batch of product to verify that it does not harm sperm motility, survival or integrity.”
RELATED: How to Increase Sperm Motility
Ingredients to Avoid in Lubricants When Trying to Conceive
While it should go without saying, it’s very important to stay away from lubricants that contain a spermicide when trying to conceive, as these will kill your sperm. Merhi also suggests couples steer clear of lubes such as KY and Astroglide in particular, because there are chemicals in the ingredients, such as glycerine and glycol, that are known to negatively affect sperm.
Here are six lubricants that have all passed laboratory testing or contain formulas and ingredients that have been deemed to be fertility-friendly.
Developed by Doctors
Pre-Seed Personal Lubricant
The National Institutes of Health funded the research to patent this sperm-safe lubricant. Fertility clinics and experts across the country recommend Pre-Seed for couples trying to conceive. Studies have confirmed it to be a top-notch choice to preserve sperm motility and vitality. And both doctors we spoke with said they recommend it to their patients as well. It is suitable for use at all stages of fertility testing and treatment – and it comes with or without applicators for ease of use.
Promising review: “THIS STUFF WORKS WONDERS. My s/o and I had been trying to get pregnant for about 6 months before I knew about this stuff. I got pregnant the first month of usage!!!! Ladies, if you’re struggling to conceive and are getting discouraged, give this a try. A little goes a long way. This stuff is a miracle that created a miracle.” – Laura
$21.99 at Amazon.com
Mimics Fertile Fluids
Conceive Plus Fertility-Friendly Lubricant
Studies have shown Conceive Plus to be safe for us at all stages of fertility testing and treatments – and it is FDA-approved for couples trying to conceive. It contains calcium and magnesium ions to help keep sperm cells healthy, and it features a controlled pH that mimics natural fertile fluids in order to promote the bonding of sperm to egg.
Promising review: “My husband and I have been trying to conceive for 8 months now, timing everything perfectly and doing everything you’re supposed to do. Getting frustrated, I started wondering if it would happen for us. I decided to try this product after thinking, “it’s only $20.00, what the hell.” Two months later, and only 5 times of actually using this product, I just got my positive pregnancy test this morning! It really works! Thank you conceive plus!” – Usually optimistic
$23.99 at Amazon.com
Natalist – The Lube – Fertility Friendly Lubricant
This water-based, fertiity-friendly, paraben-free lubricant is formulated to balance PH levels for optimal sperm health, while still enhancing pleasure and intimacy. Doctor- and FDA-approved, this lubricant’s packet packaging makes it convenient to tote along when you travel – and ensures nothing goes to waste when used at home as well.
Promising review: “I have been using this lube while trying to conceive and really liked it! It comes in easy-to-use single-use packets that give you just the right amount of product. The product feels very nice and lubricating — it is non-irritating and has no noticeable scent. The consistency is gel-like and frictionless. I did conceive while using this product, so I can confirm that it is fertility friendly! It is a little pricey— but I do enjoy using it and plan to purchase more of this product in the future!” –Leah Maines
$25 at Amazon.com
BabyDance Fertility Lubricant
BabyDance is FDA-approved for couples trying to conceive, and is free of parabens, which can have a negative impact on reproductive health. It mimics the pH and consistency of cervical mucus which helps in the meeting of sperm and egg. The water-based formula is non-irritating to the vagina and the flip-top tube makes it convenient to reach for when the moment strikes.
Promising review: “I bought this because it is FDA approved and has no parabens. Product seems to work as intended. Me and my partner did not experience side effects such as itchiness or rash. Scent is mild which is good. We used very little and that was enough. Would recommend to other couples trying to conceive.” – Vijay
$16.95 at Amazon.com
JO Actively Trying Conception Lubricant
Silky smooth and water-based, this lubricant allows each partner’s fluids to mix effortlessly without interference from other elements. It encourages sperm to reach the final egg destination but also helps to make the conception process feel natural and sensual.
Promising review: “My husband and I are actively trying, so this purchase made sense. It smells like nothing. Unlike other lubes out there, it is not sugary (kinda salty though) or sticky at all, and lasts as long as it has to. As a lube I’d give it a 5/5. If we get pregnant with this stuff I’ll give it the maximum rating.” – Amazon customer
$29.99 at Amazon.com
Majestic Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil
Like canola oil, Dr. Merhi says studies have shown coconut oil to be sperm-friendly, and suitable for use as a lubricant by couples trying to get pregnant. Majestic Pure includes a convenient pump for ease of use. It won’t stain clothing or sheets, and boasts a long shelf life.
Promising review: “I absolutely love this coconut oil. It absorbs really well. The scent is light but present. I can’t say enough good things about this product.” – Christy D. Bull
$14.98 at Amazon.com
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