To lube or not to lube? 🤔
When trying for a baby, sex is often on the tabs, either weekly, or daily, but often on a schedule.
One of the things that can make it better, is a simple addition — the lubricant.
But here’s the thing: not all lubes are sperm-friendly.
And especially when trying to conceive (when you want the sperm to swim until the egg), you’ll want a fertility lubricant to help speed things along.
There are many lubricants out there, from natural to oil, water, or gel-based ones.
But if you’re wondering which ones are best left on the racks, which are fertility-friendly, and which ones should be on your checkout page, we’ve got you.
In this article: 📝
- What is a fertility lubricant?
- How does lubricant affect fertility?
- Does lube kill sperm?
- Does fertility lube actually work?
- How to use fertility lubricant
- Which lubricant is best for fertility?
- What lube to avoid when trying to conceive?
What is a fertility lubricant?
They’re usually approved by the FDA and are sperm-friendly, so they’re made to help you get pregnant, not hinder it.
Unlike normal lubricants, fertility lubricants are formulated to mimic your body’s natural cervical mucus and have a pH similar to semen.
But how does this help?, you ask.
Well, it helps sperm in their journey to meet the egg.
As these lubes don’t have any harmful additives, like the ones typically found in standard lubes, they’re often sold under the tags “TTC lube”, “pregnancy lube” or “fertility-friendly lube”.
What does a fertility lubricant do?
Fertility lubricants tend to bridge the gap for a few different TTC situations, like
- If you’re on Clomid, a type of fertility medication, one of the side effects can be vaginal dryness, which can cause some discomfort or even pain during sex. You can ease penetration by lubricating your vaginal area using the fertility lube of your choice.
- Making a more comfortable, pleasurable time in the bedroom — the pressure to “perform” for both of you can be pretty intense when you’re trying for a baby.
- Creating an environment that’s beneficial for sperm motility and survival, making it easier for them to swim through the cervix, and uterus and reach the egg.
How does lubricant affect fertility?
Well, lubricants don’t directly impact fertility.
But standard lubes can have negative effects when you are trying to conceive.
And, for some people, certain lubes can cause irritation if there’s a reaction to any ingredient.
That’s why choosing the right fertility-friendly lubricant is essential for those baby-making nights!
Does lube kill sperm?
All lubes affect sperm to some extent when exposed for a longer duration, whether they’re silicone, oil, or water-based lube.
But not all lubes are created equal — some may affect sperm more than others.
Certain lubricants affect sperm by decreasing how long they live and how fast they swim, which affects whether they can reach the egg after swimming through the uterus.
Your best bet to avoid these effects when trying to conceive is to go for fertility-friendly lubricants.
These don’t have a toxic effect on sperm — instead, they make the environment more favorable for the sperm to swim up to the egg.
How do I know if my lubricant is sperm friendly?
So how do I even select a sperm-friendly lube?
To make it easier, here are a few things to look out for:
- An FDA-approved label with an FDA-approved symbol, rather than just claims of being “non-spermicidal”.
- Labels on the packaging such as “fertility-friendly lubricant,” “lube for conception,” “fertility lube,” or “sperm-friendly lubricant for fertility”
- pH: A sperm-friendly lubricant mimics the pH of the semen and the cervical fluid, so it should ideally be around 7, or neutral.
- Avoid ingredients like silicone, petroleum, N-9, vegetable oils, parabens, or fragrances as these are known to harm sperm. Some studies also recommend going for lubes that are glycerin-free.
Lubes that pass these checks have also passed laboratory tests to be deemed sperm friendly, and give you that assurance of safety.
Does fertility lube actually work?
The thing about fertility lube is, it doesn’t really change anything about your fertility or chance to conceive.
Rather, it works by providing a favorable environment for the sperm.
Here’s how it works:
- Sperm enter the vaginal canal once ejaculated
- They travel through the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tube, to reach the egg and fertilize
Now, the first step is where fertility lubes actually help.
At a pH of 7.5-8.2, sperm sustain no damage and can swim through the cervix region more easily.
This is why non-fertility or standard lubes aren’t preferred during TTC as they don’t help.
They tend to reduce the number of sperm that survive, thus leading the sperm to not swim through, or reduce the total number of sperm that reach the egg.
How to use fertility lubricant
Using fertility lubricant is as simple as it gets.
You can start by applying a teaspoon-sized amount of the product to your hands, rub them together, and apply on your genital area or your partner’s.
You can also reapply as much as you like.
Based on the type of products, some brands may even provide an applicator that helps you insert the lube into the vagina.
Typically, it’s best to apply them just before sex, to make the experience more pleasurable, without compromising sperm health.
Which lubricant is best for fertility?
If you’re trying to conceive, the best lubricants to go for are the ones that are FDA-approved as “fertility-friendly”.
Here’s a small checklist of what to look for while picking the best lubricant for your fertility, along with some top picks from this study:
✅ Deemed fertility-friendly by the FDA.
✅ pH that matches semen and cervical fluid (7 or neutral).
✅ Contains hydroxyethylcellulose.
✅ Osmolality of 285-295 mOsm/kg, which means that the hydration levels are the same as the vaginal tissue.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, just a few pointers that can help you pick the best lubricant that helps with conception.
It’s also possible that some sperm may have been exposed to standard lube for a shorter time, water-based lube, or maybe some semen parameters could withstand the detrimental effects of lube.
But especially for couples with infertility trying to conceive on natural cycles, or mild to moderate male infertility, the best choice is fertility-friendly lubes.
Studies that checked sperm performance when exposed to lube also found that oil and silicone ones fared better than water-based lubes.
Is coconut oil a good lubricant for fertility?
While coconut oil is a popular natural lubricant, there aren’t a lot of studies about how exactly coconut oil impacts the vaginal environment as well as the sperm, and if it’s safe.
There was a study that compared its counterparts, sesame and mustard oil as a lubricant, but they were found to reduce sperm motility.
So, coconut oil? Great for personal care, but its effectiveness as a fertility lubricant remains a subject of debate.
Our verdict? 👩⚖️
It’s best to err on the side of caution, so we still recommend using purpose-made fertility-friendly lubes over coconut oil.
What lube to avoid when trying to conceive?
When trying to conceive, it is best to avoid certain standard lubricants.
Here are our notes, so grab a pen!
❌ Yes™, Sylk™, KY Jelly™ and Forelife™
❌ Vegetable gums and fruit extracts in the ingredient list.
❌ pH that matches the vaginal area (3-4.5) that can be harmful to sperm.
❌ Contains silicone, N-9 (spermicide), glycerin, parabens, or petroleum.
❌ Lubricants with high osmolality, which can disrupt sperm function.
It’s best to always read the product labels and prioritize fertility-friendly lubricants that are lab-tested and formulated to help your journey to conception.
Whether you’re looking to spice up those bedroom sessions or those baby-making nights, your choice of lube matters.
Fertility lubricants can help optimize your chances of conception by supporting sperm health and mimicking the natural cervical mucus.
Ultimately, it’s all about creating a sperm-friendly environment.
And with the growing range of fertility lubricants out there, it can be tricky to choose the one that’s right for you.
That’s why at Peanut, we build conversations around information that matters and equips us to make the right choices.
And we do that by asking the right questions, supporting one another, and helping one another seek the right answers.
So wherever you are on your fertility journey, we’re here for you. ❤️