Vaginal lubricants in the couple trying-to-conceive: Assessing healthcare professional recommendations and effect on in vitro sperm function

Scott C. Mackenzie, Steven A. Gellatly (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    1 Citation (Scopus)
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    Abstract

    Vaginal lubricants are commonly used by couples trying-to-conceive. However, most vaginal lubricants are sperm toxic and therefore should not be used by couples trying-to-conceive. Despite this, lubricant sperm toxicity is insufficiently reported and guidance for healthcare professionals (HCPs) is absent. In this study, lubricant-related practices of fertility-based HCPs in Scotland were sampled via an online survey. Lubricants identified as being utilised in the fertility setting were subsequently incubated with prepared sperm samples to establish effects on sperm motility. HCP recommendations (n = 32) on lubricant use were varied although knowledge related to sperm toxicity was generally poor. HCPs infrequently asked about lubricant use and were unaware of guidance in this area. Aquagel, the only prescribed lubricant identified in this study, reduced sperm progressive motility to 49% of control after 10 minutes, even at concentrations as low as 5%. Vitality testing suggested the deterioration in progressive motility with Aquagel was not as a result of cell death. Conversely, Pré Vaginal Lubricant, a 'sperm-safe' lubricant, did not significantly affect any markers of sperm function assessed. Development of clinical guidance in this area is recommended to ensure HCPs deliver informed advice as lubricant use in couples trying-to-conceive may inadvertently contribute to delay in conception.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0209950
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Volume14
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2019

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