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Some Vaginal Lubricants May Damage Sperm: Vaginal Lubricants May Interfere With Fertility Treatments, Conception

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Friday, June 01, 2007 | 0 comments

Oct. 19, 2005 --WebMD Medical News--
Some brands of vaginal lubricants commonly recommended to couples undergoing fertility treatments may actually damage sperm and reduce the chance of conception.

A new study shows three brands of vaginal lubricants, FemGlide, Replens, and Astroglide, damaged sperm integrity and activity (motility) in laboratory tests. But a fourth brand of vaginal lubricant, Pre-Seed, did not appear to cause significant damage to sperm. Researchers say vaginal lubricants are often recommended for relieving vaginal dryness in women undergoing fertility treatment.

These results suggest that when mixed with sperm during intercourse, certain vaginal lubricants may affect sperm quality and decrease the potential for fertilization and conception.

The study was presented this week at a joint meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society in Montreal.

Vaginal Lubricants May Harm Sperm
In the study, researchers compared the effects of combining donor sperm from 13 different men in a solution of 10% of each of the four different vaginal lubricants vs. untreated sperm.

The results showed that sperm activity ranged from a high of 66% in untreated sperm to a low of 2% in a solution containing Astroglide.

The highest level of sperm activity (64%) was found in the solution treated with Pre-Seed vaginal lubricant, followed by 51% with FemGlide and 25% with Replens. Low sperm activity significantly reduces the chances of conception.

In a second test, researchers compared the long-term effects of exposure to three vaginal lubricants, Pre-Seed, FemGlide, and KY on sperm quality, as measured by DNA damage.

After four hours, the results showed that Pre-Seed was associated with the smallest amount of sperm DNA damage at 7% more than untreated sperm, followed by KY at 10% and FemGlide at 15%.

Researchers say the results suggest that Pre-Seed may be appropriate for use in couples undergoing fertility treatment because it was associated with the least damage to sperm quality and activity.

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Dr E Responds: Sadly, the article you cite shows how uneducated many journalists that report health care topics are...

The actual study done by the Cleveland Clinic can be read at www.preseed.com .

To quote the study "there was no difference in %DFI (sperm chromatin damage) between the HTF control and PS (p=0.23), but a decline in sperm chromatin quality was noted after exposure to FG (p=0.02) and KY (p=0.04)."

The reason for the confusion was that the AVERAGE level of sperm DNA damage across all the men was 7% higher plus or minus 12 % -- so you can see that with Pre-seed it went from 5% better than the control sperm to 19% worse than the control sperm! But most importantly the statistics tell us there is a 23% chance that any difference seen between the two products is not actual - this is not considered a significant difference ! Some men's sperm was better, some was the same and some worse -- as is expected with normal variation-

Sperm DNA damage below 20% is not considered harmful.

In contrast the KY and FemGlide had 10 +/-15 and 15+/- 15 percent more damage than control sperm , and most importantly these differences were significant statistically... Meaning there is only a 2-4% chance that the sperm DNA damage wasn't actually higher with these product. This is statistically significant.

Many of the men had DNA damage levels over 20% in these groups.

People that don't understand how to read medical papers should not be allowed to report them back to the lay community! It makes for great confusion...

Source: http://www.ingfertility.com/FAQs.html#Safety_Study_on_Pre-seed__





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Catherine

About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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