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Struggling to conceive? Consider lubrication

Ask a question at an academic medical center, and you just may inspire research to get the answer.

That is how andrology lab director Kazim Chohan, PhD, lit up the Internet recently with news that sexual lubricants may impede a couple‘s chances of conceiving.

A fertility patient asked how a store-bought lubricant affected sperm. Chohan and his team of students crafted a study to find out. They tested several commercial lubricants found on store shelves in Central New York.

“We looked at their impact on sperm motility, and interestingly we found that majority of commercial lubricants – except for PreSeed – significantly decreased sperm motility.  KY products (warming and tingling) were almost spermicidal. So if a couple is using them as a coital lubricant, the possibility is, they may not conceive,” says Chohan, a professor of pathology and of obstetrics and gynecology at Upstate.

His findings, published in the journal, Fertility and Sterility, made headlines on a variety of national and international news websites.

The team also tested some household products that may be used for lubrication: canola oil, baby oil, sesame oil and mustard oil. The oils turned out to be sperm-friendly except sesame oil.

“Mustard oil gave us really good results. It enhanced the sperm motility. The sperm were consistently hyperactive during incubation under mustard oil ” Chohan says. “This needs to be studied further.”

Family planning expert Renee Mestad, MD, is quick to point out that couples who are not seeking to become pregnant should not assume a commercial lubricant will prevent conception. “They do need to use an additional method of contraception,” she says.

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Read the journal article about this research