Sperm Friendly Lube and Vaginal pH Conditions

Sometimes when people really want to get pregnant they absolutely want to do everything they can to achieve pregnancy, yet sometimes it’s simply just the case of doing too much and just trying stuff in hope it helps without no real reason behind it. For instance, people are using the “sperm friendly lube” when they have no issues or lack of their Cervical Mucus (CM).

My personal recommendation is to avoid lube altogether whether it claims to be “sperm friendly” or not, if you have issues with dryness I suggest try cough medicines that contain the ingredient Guaifenesin first. This ingredient is known to break down mucus and thin it out, it is used in cough medicine as when you have a cold your body builds up mucus in your airways. It’s considered to have the same impact thinning out all types of body producing mucus such as Cervical Mucous (CM). By taking this in the lead up to your ovulation and drinking plenty more water than usual it will help give a more natural chance in assisting with pregnancy. If your CM hasn’t increased or isn’t matching up with egg white, watery and stretchy around time of ovulation you should consult your doctor, before moving on to “sperm friendly lubricants”.

So why am I not a pro-advocate fan of “sperm friendly lube”? As a donor I have donated many of time to many different women, I also have many donor acquaintances who have donated much more than I ever have also. It’s funny when we share stories and reflect on what worked for us and what doesn’t work as much, we all don’t speak too fondly of sperm friendly lubes, the general consensus is while many of us has helped a lady conceive a pregnancy from using the product, we have noticed on the law of averages that women who have been using the lube take on average more longer to conceive than other recipients who haven’t been. For me at first, I started to notice this trend, I personally just wondered if it was just sheer coincidence that my lower success rates with women using these products were just coincidental with that particular lady lacking in fertility. One thing I knew for certain there was no extra increase in success from this type of product.

It wasn’t until I started doing my own research, I remember watching a video on YouTube, released by username Colten King. Colten King and his wife were helping a lesbian couple try to become pregnant he had his own microscope in his household that magnifies 900X, which isn’t a bad for viewing.  From my experience watching the video I could tell he had good sperm with motility and morphology so didn’t identify any issues there. He then mixes the sperm directly with pre-seed under the microscope and leaves it for 10 minutes. The video then displays an almost ghost town like atmosphere, the sperm have stopped moving and remain lifeless.

Analyzing that video (Above) was very interesting, when you’re using pre-seed it isn’t designed to be mixed directly with the lube, the lube is meant to be inseminated first and mix in with your own bodily fluid. So technically in defense of Pre-seed it shouldn’t be directly mixed together. In the video we also don’t see the ratio quantity he mixed the lube to semen either. However! On their very own website they proclaim “Pre-Seed™ Fertility-Friendly Lubricant is a high-quality lubricant that mimics fertile cervical fluids to support sperm on their journey. Unlike most other lubricants, Pre-Seed™ Fertility-Friendly Lubricant is pH-balanced and isotonic, so sperm can swim freely.” The interesting part I refer to is where it claims to mimic cervical fluids if this was the case then there should be minimal effect of these sperm dropping like flies once directly mixed. We must also consider that the Colten King may have unknowingly contaminated the sperm during mixing the pre-seed, eg. Soap on his hands.

If the sperm friendly lube is inseminated into the vagina first with the CM and then the sperm inseminated afterwards I would presume the consequences wouldn’t be as dire. Also, being mixed together outside the body would have to more hostile surely with elements like air exposure, however it definitely proves one thing though that Pre-Seed isn’t a Fertility enhancer as the little swimmers are not becoming any stronger.

One of America’s most well-known fertility specialists famously known as the “Egg Whisper” Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh she has been on record (September 2017) for saying Pre-seed lube doesn’t kill sperm as much as other types of lubes, and that you should be using a lesser quantity than the suggested 2 or 3 grams and use it only during foreplay. She backs up my own personal theory that “it isn’t necessarily a pro-fertility supplement it’s just a safer lube alternative than those that contain spermicides”.

On The “Egg Whisperers” statement at the time suggests that Colten King may have done something drastically wrong? In that interview with Romper.com she says “If you take a sperm sample and apply, let’s say, KY to the sample, the sperm will die within minutes. If you apply Pre-Seed directly to the sample, the sperm will still be able to move, but you will notice that if you compare to sperm not exposed to Pre-Seed, the not-exposed sperm will be moving much faster and more will be viable.” Dr. Eyvazzadeh concluded at the time that Pre-seed doesn’t make the sperm swim faster, better or straighter nor live longer.

However a couple months later on November 2nd 2017, Dr. Aimee Did a live Sperm show mixing several different products under microscope to see which was and wasn’t sperm friendly. They found the likes of such as Canola Oil (7 minute mark of video), Coconut Oil (11mins), Virgin Olive Oil (13 mins) when mixed with sperm didn’t reduce motility much or cause death. From 16 minutes on wards in the video KY Jelly and Durex lube did how they were anticipated and proved they were a spermicide as you would see. However Preseed Lube (8mins) demonstrates that when mixed with the semen sample almost all were nearly dead and the ones still moving had rapidly declined in motility to a snails pace.

One criticism of the Egg Whisperers video was the pre-seed was presumed not to be at body temperature, therefore explaining it’s lack of efficiency maybe so, this is something I will have to look more into myself.

Therefore, using no lube at all is the best way to increase your chances of a pregnancy. For heterosexual couples or those doing Natural Insemination though using the lube after you have been going at it like rabbits for 2 or 3 days over your fertile window maybe an option as dryness and soreness can occur. That is the only time I suggest people to use and then the egg whisperer recommends only to use an equivalent to a fingertip worth.

For those doing Artificial Insemination you should focus more on clitoral stimulation and avoid creating soreness from penetrating objects if receiving lots of donations in short period of time, the only thing that should be entering the vagina is the syringe, but that won’t be going in and out in a repeat motion like a penis would be via natural insemination, so pain should be minimal once correctly stimulated. For most people using a sperm friendly lube should be avoided at all cost or at least using some of those oils mentioned before.

In September 1975 a research study came out by RL Goldenberg and R White that looked at 20 common ingredients used in normal lubricants and how they effected the motility of sperm once they came in contact with that ingredient it found ingredients KY Jelly, Lubifax, Surgilube, Ortho-gynol, Alpha-Keri, pHisohex to completely wipe away all motility within 15 minutes. Not far off that Keri lotion, Searle skin lotion, H-R Jelly were almost just as bad. The oil ingredients seem to be a bit more sperm friendly with about 25% decrease in motility with peanut oil, safflower oil, vegetable oil and olive oil in that order. The 2 stand out ingredients Vaseline petroleum and Glycerine were found to have minimal detrimental effects on motility.

A lot of the non-sperm friendly lubes contain some of the ingredients listed above looking and several of the sperm friendly lubes ingredients they try avoiding these types of ingredients mostly. I found it interesting that even Glycerine which in that 1975 study was found to be the least harmful ingredient tested, while not all sperm friendly lubes avoid using it  others claim it damages sperm. Some experts like Debby Herbenick a, MPH, PhD, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, are skeptical about the scientific evidence cited by sperm-friendly brands. “The idea of TTC-friendly lubes is mostly marketing,” Herbenick said in an article she did with thebump.com. With Herbenick words in mind, companies putting alternative “sperm-friendly ingredients” down is this simply just a marketing ploy to try and sway consumers into using their product?

Moving on we shall look at the ingredients of Pre-seed as it is the most popular in the trying to conceive (TTC) community. The ingredients contain:

Purified Water, Hydroxyethyl cellulose, Pluronic, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Arabinogalactan, Potassium Phosphate, Methylparaben/Propyl paraben.

As you can see the ingredients in a sperm friendly lube are totally different to a non-friendly variety. For most of us the ingredients won’t mean too much to us. I mean of course purified water sounds good to us, I don’t disagree and appears to be fine on the Egg Whisperers live-steam video. Looking at the list the paraben ingredients stand out as a concern for me.

So, what is a Paraben? It is preservative mainly found in up to 85% of personal care products, they’re used to prevent bacteria growth and extend product shelf life.  The concern is that a paraben has been linked to being a carcinogenic. The theory behind that is perfume containing this preservative is sprayed let’s say in the breast area of a woman and absorbed by the skin, in 99% of breast cancer tissue samples the presence of a paraben is detected according to article released on this study by Dr. Joseph Mercola in 2012.

Consumer awareness of parabens are increasing and there are personal care products on the market now that specifically say on the label Paraben free product. Unfortunately for a sperm-friendly product they rely on ingredients that don’t kill or damage the sperm, the preservative alternatives of likes of Vitamin C and Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) do exactly that. The manufacturer (First Response) of Pre-seed it comes across as they have little choice. On their website under their FAQ section they acknowledge this question as to why they’re using this preservative in their listed ingredients.

My concern is cervical cancer and to a lesser extent ovarian cancer. In Australia 1 in 168 women will experience a form of cervical cancer in their lifetime. Apart from “sperm friendly lube” there isn’t too many products that contain parabens that come into direct contact with the cervix. The people that use sperm friendly lube are such a small percentage that it wouldn’t warrant research into this area. I would not be surprised if they’re ever did a study on this with cervical cancer patients how big a link it would be.

Upon doing more research I found that not all “Sperm Friendly Lube” on the market contain parabens. The product Natural – Sliquid Organics on their own website they highlight the fact that their product is paraben free.

Looking at the ingredients of this product:

Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Organic Agar Agar, Organic Guar Gum, Natural Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Organic Hibiscus Extract, Organic Flax Extract, Organic Green Tea Extract, Organic Sunflower Seed Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid (reconstituted).

I have listed a few ingredients from multiple products in this chapter, and I am not going to lie those Sliquid ingredients sound the most appealing something about the word organic that is luring.  The reviews from consumers seem to overwhelmingly positive as well in terms of comfort.

To break it down for you here is a list of “sperm friendly lubricants” on the market that contain Parabens. Pre-seed, Astroglide TTC, Samsar Conceive Plus, Aquasonic, Replens and “Sperm friendly lubricants” on the market which don’t contain Parabens. Natural – Sliquid Organics, Yes Baby,

Interesting Enough while some sperm friendly lubes try and stay away from parabens and glycerine, the brand Astroglide Liquid lubrication embraces them and on their web page and attempts to convince us about their ingredients in a positive ray of light.

On the Pre-seed website it points out a table chart pH and Osmolality levels of several competitor’s products. Claiming that Astroglide’s product for example has a Ph level of 3.45 indicating it is well below the safe range of 7 to 8.5 safe range. The Osmolarity ideal range is between 260-360 m0sm/kg and that Astroglide’s is greater than 1000 m0sm/kg. Pre-seed also particularly attacks the glycerine/glycerol ingredient saying that it is harmful to sperm especially at body temperature. While on another competitor’s website YES, the organic intimacy company, it claims they avoid using glycerine as it’s prone to causing thrush.

I found it remarkable how different competing products on the market were all at war with each other over the ingredients they contained within their products and that some companies had to justify their use of controversial ingredients. I can never recall such a slanging match between competing companies products that has been this fierce before. If using lube is still an actual necessity for you I suggest you read all their websites and see for yourself.

From all my research Pre-seed seems have the best statistical results from the studies I have read on based on head to head comparisons of “sperm friendly” lubes with Conceive Plus a close second. You can read more about the results from a study by J Assist Reprod that was published online in Jan 2014 titled “The effects of vaginal lubricants on sperm function: an in vitro analysis. This study investigated 9 lubricants considered their vitality and motility performance. However remembering The Egg Whisperer only tested one sperm friendly lube surely all the others can’t be worst than that? Watch this space I am going to have to do a video myself on this.

If you’re still worried about commercial products on the market you could turn to natural ingredient “sperm friendly” products as some were previously shown in the Egg Whisperers video above.

Canola oil and baby oil found conflicting information out there some sources saying you could be prone to yeast infection, while others saying it won’t cause infection, use at your own peril. Another study conducted by Andrology Laboratory, State University of New York Upstate Medical University published online January 2014 found Canola to be classed in the same category as Pre-seed in that there were no deleterious effect and maybe considered Sperm-friendly coital lubricants. Other natural ingredients you can consider for lubrication our egg whites, coconut oil, and plain yogurt (non-sugared). Be sure to do your own research into these products if you wish to go down this path of natural ingredients.

Just want to back track a little as I touched on potential of hydrogen more commonly know as pH. The range of pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. With 7 considered neutral anything lower is considered more acidity and anything higher is more alkaline based. The healthy range for a female’s vagina is between 3.5 and 4.5 (slightly acidic) for most of the menstrual cycle. This range indicates the Vagina has good bacteria known as lactobacilli.

If a Vagina has Ph level of over 4.5 it is very common that an infection has occurred the most common type of vaginal infection is called Bacterial Vaginosis often associated with an unpleasant odour commonly described as fishy. If you think you may have this infection see a doctor, they will prescribe you an antibiotic called metronidazole. Which normally requires taking twice a day after meals for seven days, but I am sure your doctor will give you all those details fuller.

Around ovulation the body changes to accommodate pregnancy, as estrogen levels rise the immune systems drops it guard to become more accepting of foreign entities such as sperm. In conjunction with the luteinizing hormone (LH) The body produces more CM which turns the normally acidity conditions of a vagina into a more neutral to alkaline environment between the levels of 7 and 10. Sperm swim best through pH levels of 7.0 to 8.5 that’s why a women’s CM rises during this and if you’re using a lubricant the claims to be sperm friendly you need to also ensure it’s within that range or it will restrict the sperms motility.

The seminal fluid that contains the sperms pH level falls between the range of 7.1 to 8. Withen these ranges ideally are what you want the vagina to be during ovulation, so the sperm can swim freely and provide the best chance of pregnancy, so many people don’t stop to consider that this as a really important step and not many people check their conditions. You don’t have to visit your doctor to get the test done you can buy over the counter pH test paper that are similar looking like the OPK test papers that you pee on. Instead of peeing on the paper though you hold it against the wall of the vagina for a few seconds or as the particular brand instructions say to do.

The other time a vagina’s pH levels changes is during menstruation the blood has a level of approx 7.4. So, when using these self-testers to work out your levels should best wait a couple of days after menstruation to see if between 3.5 and 4.5 to ensure no infections then again once you get your LH surge from you OPK kit. You want your ideals levels as previously mentioned between 7.0 to 8.5. If you’re not reaching those levels, you can try to influence it yourself by drinking lots more water and staying hydrated. One other thing is diet can help re-alkaline your body having a green super-food drink daily can make noticeable changes to your levels, if problems persist please see a specialist.

From a personal experience and how I got exposed to self-testing your own pH levels was one lady I was helping for a few months who used a donor previously for another 6 to 8 cycles she wasn’t getting a healthy fertile pH range as it turns out and it wasn’t until she started self-testing could she acknowledge the problem and make the changes required to get her body fit for pregnancy. The cycle she tested and had her levels were in the healthy range she fell pregnant. So, I cannot recommend self-checking anymore highly enough.

While we’re still on the topic of pH Salvia interesting enough falls into the optimum range with a pH level of 7.08 So mixing sperm with saliva as a lubricant should be alright, then right? Studies of mixing sperm and saliva have found while they don’t exactly wipe out all sperm, the combination mixed drastically reduce motility their ability to swim and saliva should be avoided as a lubrication while trying to fall pregnant.

The social media world is full of rumours. While doing further research on lubricants I came across one video on You tube where a lady posted a 16 minute plus video explaining to us her pregnancy and that she received the news she was going to miscarriage at 6 weeks and 4 days. Her OB allegedly told her it’s because of her use of Pre-Seed and that the Pre-Seed Lube didn’t allow the sperm to divide. People completely disregard the fact that 15 to 20% of pregnancies can result in miscarriage with or without the assistance of a sperm-friendly lubricant. The likely scenario in this case is that Pre-Seed have nothing to do with it.

The same rule applies in social media when a person says that they got pregnant using Pre-seed. People completely disregard the fact that perhaps it was just their month a good egg and good sperm meeting at the right time and that the Pre-Seed was just a coincidence. We already spoke about these products not being fertility-enhancers they aren’t enhancing your chances yet they’re not dramatically reducing your chances either, so either way your chances of conceiving for the cycle is close to average depending on product. Of course, though when someone says they got pregnant using a “sperm friendly” lubrication desperate people want to get on board thinking that it might help them.

The worst thing about social media is everyone has an opinion, and everyone likes to think they’re right and no one wants to take a backward step conceding they could be wrong. So, it’s important to take each comment with a grain of salt. My own research has been ongoing now for 6 years at the time of releasing this article and while I have vast knowledge, there will be experts in the field that agree with me and experts that have different views. So, it’s all about taking it on board and doing further research yourself if you have such doubts.

For more information join the discussion in your respective communities below.

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