Vaginal Lubricants May Be Toxic to Sperm
Adapted from Many Women Trying to Conceive Use Personal Lubricants, but These May Be Toxic to Sperm Depending on Brand by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
At the annual ASRM meeting in October 2016, British researchers presented a survey of the use of vaginal lubricants by women who are trying to conceive, and doctors from Spain shared the results of their testing of several personal lubricants for sperm toxicity.
The UK team surveyed 1540 women who were trying to become pregnant about their history of vaginal discomfort during sex and their use of vaginal lubricants. About 10% of the women reported that they were currently using lubricants, but fewer than 3% of them said that they were suffering vaginal dryness or discomfort.
In the past, fewer than 3% of the women had experienced dryness when trying to conceive, and only 1.6% reported using lubricants at that time.
Researchers from Spain performed a prospective in vitro test to ascertain whether five vaginal lubricants were toxic to sperm. They prepared standardized samples of normal sperm and incubated them in solutions containing 1%, 5%, and 10% concentrations of the lubricants for time periods ranging from a half hour to 24 hours.
The sperm toxicity of vaginal lubricants was varied:
Control® and Velastisa® were not toxic at any concentration or incubation time.
Sperm exposed to Durex® had the best survival after 24 hours (84% in a 5% concentration).
K-Y® was toxic only at 10% from one hour onward.
Vaginesil® caused a drastic decrease in sperm motility after a half hour in 10% concentration and was toxic at all concentrations for all incubation periods.
In conclusion, it appears that the popularity of personal lubricants is increasing, and significant numbers of women who are actively trying to conceive are using them. The patients need to be made aware that their choice of vaginal lubricants may affect their chances of becoming pregnant.