Wondering whether lubricants are sperm friendly? If lube plays a key role in your sex life, it makes sense that you’d want to keep using it when TTC.
But could your lubricant be harming your chances of conceiving? Here we break down the research into different types of lube and find out which lubricants are sperm friendly – and which definitely aren’t!
Are water-based lubricants sperm friendly?
You might think that something based on the most natural liquids in the world isn’t going to do harm to your swimmers – but you’d be wrong. One study found that water-based lubricants are actually some of the worst lubricants for sperm health when it comes to motility. The research indicated that water-based lubes could totally paralyse your swimmers within 5 minutes and kill a lot of them within an hour.
K-Y Jelly is one of the most popular water-based lubricants out there, but if you’re trying to conceive you should definitely give it a miss. One study found that when sperm samples were combined with K-Y Jelly in a lab, 80% had no motile sperm, and the ones that did had only 5% motility. Further research indicated that the Tinging range had an even more detrimental effect on sperm health, so whilst it might be fun to add a little tingle into your sex life – it’s not great if you are trying to get pregnant.
Are silicone-based lubricants sperm friendly?
Some couples prefer silicone-based lubricants for their lovemaking sessions – especially if they are fans of shower sex! Silicone-based lubricants have been shown to be less harmful to sperm than water-based lubes, but when combined with semen samples in a lab, research does indicate that they can affect sperm motility if the two are left together for too long.
Are oil-based lubricants sperm friendly?
More and more people are sliding into pleasure with things they find in their bathroom or kitchen. Natural lubricants like coconut oil and olive oil are loved by those who want to keep their sex life chemical-free (and olive oil was actually the lube of choice for all those horny Ancient Roman and Greeks!
Whilst less research has been done into natural lubricants, there are still some small studies that indicate that both coconut oil and olive oil could impair sperm motility, as the natural oils make it harder for them to swim! Another natural lubricant – mustard oil – however, did not affect motility and has even been found to send sperm cells into a ’hyperactive’ frenzy!
Another popular based oil lubricant is baby oil, which, compared to shop-bought lubes is not too bad for sperm motility, although some studies have still indicated some negative impact on motility. So if you’re indulging in some oiled up Magic Mike fantasy, you might want to keep it away from your baby-making bits.
Is saliva a sperm-friendly lubricant?
For many years, salvia was actually recommended by doctors as the best lubricant for couples struggling to conceive. However, more recent research has revealed that, shockingly, saliva can mess your swimmers up even more than lubes you buy in the shops! The study found that when combining sperm samples with saliva in a lab, sperm motility plummeted to near zero after 15 minutes!
Are conception lubes really sperm friendly?
Smart lube brands have become aware of the eager market of TTC couples who want a lube that won’t damage their sperm – and could even improve their chances of conceiving. The truth is that the vast majority of ‘fertility friendly’ lubes don’t have a lot of scientific research to back it up. If you’re hoping that they will make a big difference to your fertility chances, we’d recommend saving your money.
One of the only conception lubes that does have a medical seal of approval is PreSeed. A study indicated that progressive motility did increase when sperm cells came into contact with the lube, although other research implies that that might have been a fluke.
Does this mean I can’t use lube when trying to conceive?
Well, kind of. Most of the studies above have been based on combining semen samples with each lubricant in a lab. Whilst this scientific evidence is certainly not to be ignored, when we look at real-life situations, it’s hard to determine exactly how much lubricant impacts sperm performance – as there are often so many other factors at play.
However, one study of 300 women found that couples that used lube – either frequently or occasionally – were no less likely to become pregnant than those who never used lube – so maybe it’s not all bad news for lube lovers after all!
Whilst the science still might be a bit inconclusive, if you are dealing with low motility already it might be a good idea to lay off the line for a bit to give yourself more chance of getting pregnant. However, if you need lube in your life to make sex enjoyable – or even not painful – then baby oil might be your best bet!
What about when I give a sperm sample?
When taking our at-home sperm test, we always recommend that you give lube a miss altogether. You want to get the most accurate reading possible, so anything that could impair your motility or make your swimmers start acting out (here’s looking at your Mustard Oil) should be avoided.
Want to take your fertility into your own hands? Check out our at-home sperm test right here!