DOCTORS have warned that sex lubes can harm men’s sperm – but ingredients in the kitchen cupboard are a safe bet.
Lubricants are commonplace in the bedroom, but if a couple are trying for a baby, they may want to reconsider using them.
GettyCouples that want a baby may want to lay off the lube[/caption]
Lubes can have a negative effect on sperm motility – the ability of sperm to swim – and may prevent fertilisation, it is already known.
But a study looked at whether “fertility friendly” lubes are as worthwhile as claimed.
Fertility lube is specifically designed to help couples who are trying to conceive and markets itself as fertility or sperm “friendly”.
Rather than applying it in the heat of the moment, it’s usually inserted into the vagina before sex using an applicator.
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The study looked at two fertility friendly lubes – Pre-Seed and Yes Baby – which both cost less than £20 online.
Pre-Seed, sold at Boots, has been “clinically shown to be fertility-friendly lubricant” and “doesn’t harm sperm”, according to the manufacturers, while Yes Baby describes itself as “sperm friendly”.
Researchers from the University of Pretoria in South Africa tested the products on 60 semen samples from men in the country.
They added 0.5ml of the fluid to the samples and used microscopic cameras to look at how the sperm behaved.
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Sperm motility was graded according to World Health Organization criteria.
All lubricants caused significant reductions in the ability for sperm to travel compared with untreated sperm, findings published in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics show.
“Claims that these lubricants are sperm-friendly were refuted” by the experiments, the researchers said.
After two hours, sperm mixed with Pre-Seed samples had scores of one — movement with no direction, MailOnline reported.
Yes Baby had a score of zero, which meant there was no movement at all.
Lead author Johan Markram said: ”This study is important because it highlights that these so-called sperm-friendly lubricants may actually hinder normal conception.”
Astoundingly, ingredients found in the kitchen cupboard worked better than the branded bottles of lube.
The researchers had also tested olive oil and egg whites.
One can only imagine using these in a state of desperation.
However, online forums have seen advocates of ingredients like olive oil, butter and even yoghurt as a safer substitute.
The study found that olive oil had a sperm motility score of one, the same as Pre-Seed.
Egg whites had a score of two, meaning it had sluggish motility, however this was not any less than the sperm not treated with a lubricant.
But sperm was able to keep moving the longest while submerged in egg whites, still holding a score of one after 24 hours.
But there are risks associated with using food-stuffs as natural lubrication.
Oil-based products can damage condoms (which those planning for a baby would not need to worry about).
And there is a lack of information on what could occur if raw egg whites are inserted into the vagina.
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The vagina is a delicate balance of chemicals and using a lubricant with a different pH to the vagina can lead to a bacterial infection.
The Sun has contacted all brands mentioned in this article.