Myths About Sexual Practices That Affect Fertility

sperm vector iconFor many couples, becoming pregnant is a goal that requires active effort and attention to even the smallest details, even during sexual intimacy. Childbearing is an integral part of the human experience, and as such, there are countless myths and superstitions surrounding fertility, or the capacity for a man or woman to successfully produce a child. Many of these myths are just that: myths, with little to no scientific backing.

Nevertheless, many couples who are struggling to conceive may come across some of these myths and feel compelled to consider them.

If you have questions regarding a myth or method that is not featured below, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to speak with you regarding this, and possibly other, effective methods of increasing fertility.

Male Fertility Myth

Male fertility is a term that encompasses several different factors that determine the overall health of a man’s sperm. These factors include morphology (shape of the sperm), concentration (sperm count), motility (mobility of the sperm), and volume. One of the most common myths couples come across when researching successful procreation techniques is the idea that frequent male ejaculations may decrease male fertility.

This claim holds no scientific weight; in fact, studies have shown that men with regular semen quality, sperm concentrations, and motility stay at normal levels of fertility with daily ejaculation.

Sperm volume, however, is somewhat impacted by the frequency of ejaculations. Unlike other mammals, man does not have the capacity for sperm storage. Since sperm production is a 10-week process, a finite volume of sperm is available at any given time. As such, studies have also shown that, as long as a man does not exceed more than a five-day abstinence period, there will likely be no adverse impact to the amount of sperm volume utilized during the procreation process.

For men with oligozoospermia (low sperm count within the semen), sperm concentration and motility can reach a peak through daily ejaculation.

Sexual Positions

In an effort to maximize the odds of conception, couples may also attempt to adhere to certain “optimal” positions during intercourse. Other practices, like having the woman remain on her back for a short period after coitus, are also common strategies that couples pick up. Unfortunately, there is no actual evidence that specific coital practices, positions, or routines you attempt can impact fertility or fecundability (the probability of being pregnant in a single menstrual cycle). Once the male has ejaculated during intercourse, sperm can be found in the cervical canal seconds after ejaculation, regardless of the position of the couple.

Engaging in intercourse every one to two days during a woman’s fertile window provides the best chances for pregnancy. However, similar results can be found in intercourse intervals between two and three times per week.

Female Climax and Lubricants

It is also a common misperception that lubricants can aid in the conception process. In practice, most commercially available lubricants (e.g., Astroglide®, K-Y™ Jelly, etc.) inhibit sperm motility by 60 to 100 percent. Interestingly, researchers of this study find it prudent to recommend mineral oil, canola oil, or any other hydroxyethylcellulose-based lubricants to couples who need lubrication, since they do not have any adverse impacts on fertility.

While a female orgasm may help direct sperm into the cervical canal, no evidence points toward a relationship between orgasm and fertility beyond that initial benefit.

If you have any further questions about male or female fertility or would like to know more about scientifically proven methods of increasing fertility rates, we encourage you to call our office at 310-929-6707.