The effects on sperm motility were evaluated at 1 minute, 15 minutes, 30 minutes and one hour. While the ConceivEase maintained sperm motility at 65 percent, the others did not. At one hour, the motility of the sperm exposed to Touch was down to 10 percent, while sperm exposed to the other three lubricants was down to zero, the study found.
Kutteh said he first began noticing the effect of lubricants on sperm more than a decade ago. While at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, he published a report in the International Journal of Fertility showing that commercial lubricants were harmful to sperm motility, he said.
Kutteh said he's been giving the lubricant to his own patients for years. Lubricant use during intercourse is common among couples undergoing fertility treatment, he said, partly because ovulation-inducing agents can cause vaginal dryness.
The new lubricant includes light mineral oil, Vitamin E, and glycerol buffered with a certified growth medium. It protects the sperm from pH changes and other factors that can decrease fertility, according to literature from the company.
Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called the new study interesting, adding that it "holds promise because it doesn't alter sperm motility at one hour."
But, she added, she'd like to see results beyond the one hour, up to 72 hours.
Wu said she typically advises couples trying to conceive not to use commercial lubricants at all, and she thinks that's common advice from doctors. "We don't want to do anything that narrows the window of opportunity for sperm to meet the egg."
And, while the commercially available lubricants were found to kill off sperm, Kutteh added a caveat for those couples not trying to conceive: Don't trust them as contraceptives.
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