Fertility lube can help create the right environment for a pregnancy to happen. Learn about what it is and how it helps the sperm and the egg.
Trying to conceive? A lot of couples turn to personal lube for comfort and pleasure during sex.
Unfortunately, many types of lube affect how sperm travel to meet the egg for fertilization.
Fertility Lube is lubricant that's been tested to ensure it has similar pH level and viscosity as semen and cervical fluid.
It's important to make sure the lubricant is FDA-approved. The top recommended options include Pre-Seed fertility lubricant and Conceive Plus fertility lubricant.
Fertility lube does not increase the chances of pregnancy. It only ensures that the environment the sperm and egg are in is not impeded by the lube itself.
Fertility lube, by contrast, is a personal lubricant that has been cleared by the FDA to be sperm-safe and a proven option for couples trying to conceive.
What is fertility-safe lube? What is the best lube for fertility? Below is a closer look.
Fertility lube is a type of sexual lubricant that’s been tested to ensure it has a similar viscosity and pH level as cervical fluid and semen.
In short, lube for conception is designed to deter interference with the sperm and egg during sex.
They’re screened at the time of production and throughout the lubricants shelf life for endotoxins.
These toxins are produced by bacteria that can be harmful to eggs and sperm at low levels.
While using lube is natural for TTC couples, not all lubes are ideal when trying to get pregnant. Certain types of lubes that should be avoided include:
The Food and Drug Administration recently created a product classification for personal lubricants that are compatible with gametes (sperm and eggs), fertilization, and embryos in 2017.
This classification set a standard for which personal lubricants could actually be advertised as "fertility-safe lube."
These lubricants show up under a lot of different names, such as TTC lube, pregnancy lube, and fertility-friendly lube.
To date, less than a dozen products have obtained the FDA's approval for labeling as lube safe for conception.
The general process from sperm entry to fertilization looks something like what follows:
With this in mind, sperm must be highly mobile in order to reach the egg.
The bulk of available personal lubricants affects sperm motility (movement). This can get in the way of fertilization.
Different types of lube may also contain ingredients that are known to cause direct damage to sperm.
For example, some silicone-based and water-based lubes have been shown to leave most sperm in samples not moving after 30 minutes.
These same lubes also caused damage in some cases that would make sperm cells non-viable.
Researchers point out that these damages are likely caused by the pH levels of certain products, as well as osmolality (the fluid-to-particle ratio).
Both of these are regulated naturally by the body. However, when non-biologic fluids are introduced with certain types of lube, both pH levels and osmolality can be affected.
For reference, sperm fares best in mucus that has a pH level between 7.2 and 8.5. Osmolality should be between 270 and 360 milliosmoles per kilogram (mOsm/kg) of water.
Outside these ranges, the sperm can both sustain damage and have no motility.
Remember that it’s important to look for specific products that the FDA has cleared as a lube that doesn’t affect fertility.
When it comes to the best fertility lube, there are actually several options. However, certain brands tend to get recommended or referenced more than others.
Below is a look at the top three conception lube choices.
Pre-Seed Fertility Lubricant developed by First Response is often touted as the best lube for conception.
Pre-Seed was developed by health professionals and has been clinically tested to ensure it supports sperm motility and survival.
According to the manufacturer, Pre-Seed fertility lube is designed to create an environment that has a similar pH level to the natural vaginal environment.
In clinical studies published in 2014, Pre-Seed conception lube was found to have no negative effect on sperm.
In comparative studies published in 2014, Pre-Seed fertility-friendly lube had the least measurable negative effects on sperm compared to eight other fertility lubes.
Over 92 percent of sperm in the Pre-Seed analysis retained their vitality for 30 minutes.
However, Conceive Plus held a close second even though Pre-Seed was shown to be the best lube for fertility support.
It should be noted, however, that Pre-Seed does contain parabens which may affect fertility on some level. Further research is needed to make definitive claims.
Dr. Jed Kaminetsky M.D. is an American Board Certified Urologist and earned his Medical Degree at New York University. In his tenure he became a member of the American Urological Association and the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Kaminetsky pioneered the minimally invasive Rezum BPH treatment and is an expert in male and female dysfunction.
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