Lubricant and Sperm Quality
Couples often use lubricants to combat vaginal dryness during intercourse. Men also use lubricant while masturbating for semen collection at fertility clinics. And healthcare workers use the lubricant to ease the insertion of medical devices.
Whatever your reason may be, before using lube, be aware that a new study reveals that many lubricants may be causing more harm than you may have bargained for.
Lubricant Hampered Motility
Motility, a form of measuring sperm quality based on sperm’s ability to find and fertilize your partner’s egg, is significantly hampered by sex lubricant, according to a new study from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University.
Researchers tested five commercial gels (Pre-Seed, KY Warming Gel, Astroglide, K-Y Tingling Jelly and K-Y Sensitive Jelly) and four common oils in order to examine sperm motility in test tubes. They obtained semen samples from 22 healthy donors, and examined the semen over an hour of exposure to each product. All the commercial lubricants except Pre-Seed, A product specifically formulated for couples trying to conceive, impaired the sperm’s overall movement and their ability to move forward.
“Lubricants available on the shelf at Target and Walmart, are not lubricants any couple should use if they are trying to have a baby,” said Kazim R. Chohan, senior author of the study. “Couples can try them for their sexual pleasure,” Chohan told Reuters Health. “But if they are trying to have a baby, then they are not going to work for them.”
Two of five commercial products Chohan investigated in the study are no longer available in stores. Johnson & Johnson recalled K-Y Tingling Jelly and K-Y Sensitive Jelly from retail outlets last year after learning that the lubricant required additional data for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, according to a company statement.
The study found no negative effects on sperm from exposure to canola or baby oil. Sesame oil, however, was associated with an immediate, drastic decline in sperm movement. And mustard oil had the opposite effect. When researchers mixed mustard oil with semen, the sperm became hyperactive and stayed that way for at least an hour.