12 March 2008

Lubricants may harm sperm

Four out of five vaginal lubricants tested in a study significantly decreased the ability of sperm to swim and the integrity of the genetic material that makes up chromosomes.

Of five vaginal lubricants tested in a study, only one did not significantly decrease the ability of sperm to swim (motility) or the integrity of chromatin - genetic material that makes up chromosomes, researchers found.

Between a third and a half of sexually active couples use vaginal lubricants, they explain, but a number of studies have reported a deleterious effect on sperm quality.

So what can a woman use to alleviate vaginal dryness while trying to conceive, without harming the sperm? To investigate, Dr Ashok Agarwal from the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio and associates evaluated the effects of four commercially available vaginal lubricants (FemGlide, Pre-Seed, Replens, and Astroglide) on sperm motility and the effects of three lubricants (Pre~Seed, K-Y Jelly, and FemGlide) on sperm chromatin integrity.

How the study was done
In tests of semen samples from 12 men, Replens, Astroglide, and FemGlide caused significant decreases in sperm motility after 30 minutes, the investigators report in the journal Fertility and Sterility, whereas Pre-Seed caused no significant decrease in sperm motility compared with sperm in a control solution.

Sperm chromatin damage increased significantly after exposure to FemGlide or K-Y Jelly, the report indicates, and there was some damage, albeit statistically insignificant, after exposure to Pre-Seed.

"Our study suggests that even the water-soluble lubricants containing no spermicide, such as FemGlide, Astroglide, and Replens, have negative effects on sperm motility and chromatin integrity," the investigators conclude.

"We found that Pre-Seed intimate moisturiser had minimal negative effect on both sperm motility and chromatin quality, which may be due to its more physiologic pH and isotonic formulation as compared with other products."

They added, "Our results suggest that Pre-Seed may be a promising treatment for vaginal dryness in infertile couples who are trying to conceive; however, large-scale in vivo trials are needed to support our findings." – (ReutersHealth)

March 2008

Read more:
The key to healthy sperm?


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