To Buy Or Not To Buy

Does Fertility Lube Really Work?

An OB-GYN breaks down whether your lube could be impacting your chances of getting pregnant.

Originally Published: 
Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Shutterstock

When you're trying to get pregnant, there's a good chance you're stock-piling lube in an effort to keep things fun and friction-free along the way. If you've spotted or heard about something called "fertility lube" or "fertility-friendly lube," you might be wondering whether or not you should be getting on board with these lubricants — after all, if lube can help boost your baby-making odds, why wouldn't you give it a try?

Before you start tossing out your lube stock in favor of something that claims to support your fertility, allow a fertility specialist to break down the nitty-gritty of fertility lube and whether or not it's all it's cracked up to be.

What's the deal with fertility lube, anyway?

Like so many things pregnancy-related, you can chalk it up to marketing, as OB-GYN Dr. Alex Robles of Columbia University Fertility Center tells Scary Mommy. "Fertility lube is primarily a marketing term for lubricants that do not contain ingredients that are damaging to sperm. Generally, these products do not contain nonoxynol-9 (spermicide), glycerin, parabens, or propylene glycol. They are also set to have a neutral pH."

Hold up, though. Does that mean other lubes are damaging to sperm? It's complicated, says Robles. Essentially, it all comes down to the pH levels in your vagina and cervix, which naturally rise to a more alkaline level during ovulation. Most lubricants have an acidic pH, which could theoretically impact or inhibit the chances of getting pregnant.

So while you definitely don't want to use any spermicide-based lubes when you're trying to conceive (TTC), Robles cites a few recent studies that do show "some data that vaginal lubricants (even the ones marketed as sperm-friendly) can be detrimental to sperm vitality and motility." Eek.

Still, zooming out to the bigger picture, it's worth pointing out that plenty of people are able to conceive using lube without issue, "so it's hard to know if these results are applicable in a clinical setting," notes Robles.

Does fertility lube contain any real benefits?

If supporting those swimmers remains top of mind, Robles does recommend at least giving the ingredient list on your lube a quick glance. "If someone is trying to conceive, they should look for a lubricant that does not contain ingredients that are harmful to sperm, particularly nonoxynol-9 (spermicide). It is also a good idea to avoid lubes with glycerin, parabens, or propylene glycol, as studies show that they can harm the vaginal epithelial cells (aka all the inner vaginal layers)."

Two solid, hypoallergenic and sensitive skin-friendly picks: Astroglide Premium Silicone Liquid Personal Lube and #LubeLife Water-Based Personal Lubricant, both of which are free of those potentially sperm-damaging ingredients mentioned above.

Does fertility lube help you get pregnant?

And, of course, the million-dollar question: Does fertility lube boost your odds of making a baby? The TL;DR straight from Robles: "Fertility lubes do not promote conception or help you get pregnant. They simply do not contain ingredients that are harmful to sperm."

As with any fertility-related concerns, you can always check in with your OB-GYN, who can help guide you in the right direction and give your lube the green light. But you certainly don't need to spend extra money on lubes that make lofty claims, as there's a good chance the lube you're currently using is A-OK on the baby-making front.

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