Best Lubes to Use When Trying to Conceive

Not All Lubricants Are Friendly to Sperm

Couple in bed in a moment of intimacy, when trying to conceive it's important to use fertility friendly lubricants
Your body produces the very best natural lubricant, but sometimes, you need extra help. Be sure to choose only fertility friendly lubricants. Westend61 / Getty Images

It's common for couples who are trying for a baby to have trouble with natural lubrication during sex. One reason may be stress: When intercourse has to be a scheduled event rather than a spontaneous act of affection, it can difficult for both partners' bodies to respond to lovemaking. Simply going through the rigors of fertility treatment, with all the testing, blood work, and doctor visits required, is enough to put a damper on desire.

To complicate things more, the fertility drug Clomid that's frequently prescribed to stimulate ovulation in women undergoing fertility treatment, can have a side effect of interfering with the natural lubrication that comes from cervical mucus. During ovulation, this mucus becomes thin and clear. It looks a bit like raw egg white and is designed to nourish and help transfer sperm through the cervix to the uterus.

Even though the lubes you and your partner may have turned to when you weren't trying to conceive may get in the way when you are, it doesn't mean there aren't alternatives.

Why Manmade Lubricants Are Not Sperm-Friendly

Products like KY Jelly and Astroglide are perfectly fine for couples who aren't trying to get pregnant. Lubes like these counter vaginal dryness and make intercourse more comfortable. Unfortunately, research has found, these lubricants can interfere with sperm motility—the swimming movement sperm use to travel from semen into cervical mucus.

Poor sperm motility can be a factor in fertility problems. If a lot of sperm are rendered motionless, there will be fewer available to try to get to an egg that's waiting to be fertilized.

Besides affecting sperm motility, some lubricants have been found to kill or alter the DNA of sperm. This is true of both water-based lubes and those made from some sort of oil.

If Not Regular Lube, Then What?

Fortunately, there are sperm-friendly products made specifically for couples experiencing vaginal dryness while trying to conceive.

One popular option is called Pre-Seed Fertility Friendly Lubricant, which is formulated to closely mimic the natural fluids produced by a woman's body. It's a suppository, which means it's placed in the vagina with an applicator that looks much like a tampon. You can find Pre-Seed in pharmacies, at your fertility clinic, or online.

In a pinch—or if you simply don't want to spend money on buying a special lubricant—you can try using plain canola oil. Research has shown it to be safe for sperm and it's less expensive than special lubes. If you don't want to keep a whole bottle of cooking oil in your bedroom, fill up a plastic travel-size bottle with a small opening and flip cap to keep by your bed.


Mowat A, Newton C, Boothroyd C, Demmers K, Fleming S. “The Effects of Vaginal Lubricants on Sperm Function: An In Vitro Analysis.” J Assist Reprod Genet. 2014 Mar;31(3):333-9. doi: 10.1007/s10815-013-0168-x. Epub 2014 Jan 5.

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