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What Is a Sperm-Friendly Lubricant?

By Nicole Etolen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Under the right conditions, a woman’s reproductive organs will naturally produce lubricants that can help sperm reach the eggs for fertilization. Sometimes, however, a woman’s body is unable to self-lubricate, and in these cases, couples who are trying to conceive may turn to a lubricant product to help reduce friction and create a more conducive environment for conception. Some lubricants contain ingredients that destroy sperm, while a sperm-friendly lubricant is made of ingredients that do not harm sperm, allowing it to reach the egg without harm.

There are numerous reasons for a woman’s body to be unable to produce adequate lubricant, including illness, mood, and the use of certain medications. The lubricant produced by women's bodies is mucus-based, so nasal decongestants and other medications designed to dry up mucus in the sinuses can also affect vaginal secretions. The stress of trying to conceive combined with timing sexual intercourse on ovulation rather than mood can also make it difficult for the woman to become properly lubricated. A sperm-friendly lubricant can help take the pressure off the couple and provide the moist environment that conception requires.

There is significant ongoing debate in the medical community as to whether a completely sperm-friendly lubricant actually exists. Some studies indicate that all lubricants aside from women's natural secretions can damage the sperm in some way. Even water-based lubricants, which were once considered safe for sperm, can be damaging if they contain glycerin. On the other hand, a dry vagina significantly impairs the ability of sperm to reach its destination, so a relatively sperm-friendly lubricant may still be the better option than no lubrication at all.

Medical researchers are making some progress in creating more sperm-friendly lubricant products. Newer products contain ingredients that mimic the hormones responsible for producing vaginal secretions, and may actually encourage the woman’s body to produce more lubrication on its own. More research is needed to determine if this is an effective option. In the United States, personal lubricants are considered medications and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so those that are considered harmful to sperm typically carry a warning label.

In lieu of using a sperm-friendly lubricant, women can take certain measures on their own to ensure a healthy environment for the sperm. Products like douches and other vaginal cleansers should be avoided, as they can alter the pH balance of the vagina and create a hostile environment for sperm. Drinking plenty of water, avoiding nasal decongestants, and talking to a fertility specialist about medications that help boost the necessary hormones may also help.

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Discussion Comments
By fBoyle — On Feb 17, 2014

@donasmrs-- I had similar worries about sperm friendly lubricants until my doctor recommended this type of lubricant to me. My doctor actually said that it's best not to use anything, but if I absolutely have to, I should use a sperm friendly lubricant.

By serenesurface — On Feb 16, 2014

@donasmrs-- I can't remember when or where I read it, but I've definitely seen a study on the effects of various lubricants on sperm. The study concluded that over the counter lubricants and saliva can slow down sperm and make it more difficult for sperm to reach the egg. So this connection really exists.

I'm also convinced that sperm friendly lubricants work because I got pregnant after switching from a regular lubricant to a sperm friendly one. Sperm friendly lubricants are very similar to our natural cervical mucus and actually help sperm get to the egg. They do costs more but it's definitely worth it if you're trying for a baby.

By donasmrs — On Feb 16, 2014

My husband and I are trying to get pregnant. I suffer from vaginal dryness, so we have always used personal lubricants during intercourse. After reading that lubricants can kill sperm, we have switched to a sperm friendly lubricant. I'm actually not too happy with the lubricant because it costs more, it doesn't work as well for lubrication and it's kind of messy. I am actually wondering if there is any truth behind this whole concept or if this is just a way for manufacturers to make more money.

Does anyone here feel that a sperm friendly lubricant increased your chances to conceive? Or has anyone seen studies that show that regular lubricants damage sperm or that sperm friendly lubricants protect sperm? I would like to see more evidence on this topic. Most women I know have heard about sperm friendly lubricants from friends and I don't think that most of us know enough about it.

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