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Fertility-Friendly Lubricant: What TTC Couples Need to Know

Lubes are very popular, and for a good reason. Apart from spicing things up in the bedroom, it can help women prevent vaginal discomfort during sexual intercourse. Therefore, it is unsurprising that 66% of women in Australia say that they have used lube at some point. 

According to a report, 42% of premenopausal women experience discomfort during sex, which jumps to almost 80% in women actively trying to conceive. Lubricants can help in such situations by easing the discomfort and making the activity more pleasurable. 

In the following sections of this post, we will take a closer, scientific look at what it means to be categorised as sperm-friendly lube and answer some questions regarding its efficacy.  

What is a fertility friendlysafe lubricant to use when trying to get pregnant?
What is a safe lubricant to use when trying to get pregnant?

What is a fertility-friendly lube? 

Let’s answer this fundamental question: What is a fertility-friendly lubricant? 

For lube to receive the mark of being a ‘fertility-friendly lubricant,’ it must comply with some of the criteria laid out by the TGA

The manufacturer must prove by extensive testing that the lube has no detrimental effect on sperm, egg, or fertilisation. The manufacturer has to perform both in-vitro tests (done with collected sperm outside the body) and in-vivo tests (done in mice and rats).

The lube also must be tested for endotoxins, the compounds released by dying cells, as these compounds can be detrimental to sperm even in low concentrations. 

What is the difference between fertility-friendly lube and personal lubricant?

All types of lube are made to be used on sensitive areas; hence, most manufacturers have some safety and side effects tests done on them. Some manufacturers also go a step ahead and test for condom compatibility. 

The main difference between the fertility-friendly lubricant and personal lube is that the manufacturers of the latter did not provide the TGA with safety data. The data we are talking about here relates to the effect of the lube on the sperm-egg and its impact on fertilisation.

It is still possible for some of the lubes that are not categorised as fertility-friendly to have any effects on sperm, but there is no data to corroborate that. On the other hand, the lubes classified as fertility-friendly have undergone tests to prove that they don’t have any adverse effect on sperm or eggs. 

Conversely, some personal lubes might have ingredients known to hurt sperm or eggs. One of the preservatives used in many (if not all) personal lubes are parabens, known to harm the sperm. 

Conceive Plus is a Fertility-friendly personal lubricant for couples that are trying to conceive!
Conceive Plus is Fertility-friendly for couples who are trying to conceive!

Fertility-friendly lubricant ingredients

Let’s get one thing very clear before we go ahead. No ingredient in the fertility-friendly lubes makes them magically inert toward sperm, eggs, and fertilisation. While all fertility-friendly lubes are safe for sperm, their formula might have different ingredients.

The following section will discuss some ingredients and characteristics to look for in a fertility-friendly lube. Some elements and properties might indicate that the lube is safe for the sperm, while others suggest good for your vaginal health. 

Sperm-friendly lubricant with pH around 7:

While the pH of the vaginal fluids is around 4.0-4.5, it can change during sexual arousal. The pH of the vagina can increase to about 7.0 when you are aroused, and it matches the pH of the semen. Having a neutral pH is crucial for the survival of the sperm. If you are trying to get pregnant, you don’t want a lube that changes the pH of your vagina too much. You want to get into that neutral zone throughout sexual intercourse to allow the sperm cells the best chance to fertilise the egg. If the pH falls into the acidic region, the sperm cells begin to die, and that’s not good if you are TTC.

Make sure to read the label on the lube; most manufacturers will advertise that it has a pH of around 7. If you are TTC, avoid those that don’t explicitly state the pH on the packaging. 


The osmolality of fluid indicates how many particles that fluid has per unit of water. Iso-osmotic solutions will have the same number of solute particles per unit of water molecules. Using a lube with a different osmolality than your vagina might cause the cells to die, leading to infections. The normal osmolarity of your vagina is 270 mOsm/Kg, and you should look for a lube close to this range. Unfortunately, many personal lubes can have 3-4 times higher osmolality values than your vaginal tissue. It would be wise to stay away from such lubes. 

You can check out some common lubes’ osmolality values on a resource published by the World Health Organization.

Sperm-friendly lubricant that’s Glycerin-free 

Glycerin, or glycerol as it is often called, is a natural substance found in plants and animals. However, as we discussed before, it has a very high value of osmolality that can lead to harmful effects. Lubes containing glycerin can significantly reduce the motility of the sperm, making it harder for them to reach the egg to fertilise it. Another issue with glycerin is that it is broken down in the vagina into simple sugars such as glucose, increasing your chances of yeast infection. 

What does science have to say about lubes & their effect on sperm?

There are many studies on the impact of lubricants on sperm motility and viability. It is important to note that lubes have a minimal effect on the egg as they are not supposed to reach the egg in your genital tract. Consequently, nearly all the research is focused on the impact of the lube on the sperm. Although there are many studies on the effects of various ingredients of traditional lubes on the market, no study directly compares how personal and fertility-friendly lubes stack up against each other. 

One of the best studies in that regard is a study conducted in Australia in 2014. The researchers took sperm samples from 10 donors and tested 11 popular lubes on the market on the collected sperm. The scientists determined the impact on sperm health due to these lubes, including sperm motility and viability:

  • Motility: The study concluded that the motility of the sperm was good in 8 out of the 11 lubes tested. The best motility was observed with a lube that received TGA approval as fertility-friendly. 
  • Viability: Viability refers to the number of sperm cells alive after exposure to the lube. The scientists concluded that the highest viability (70-90%) observed in lube samples is fertility-friendly.  
  • DNA fragmentation: All lubes had comparable effects on the DNA fragmentation of the exposed sperm cells. 

The authors concluded that the three lubes they tested were ‘sperm-friendly’, including the one from Conceive Plus. 

Fertility-friendly lubricant & real-world performances

The study we discussed is excellent, but there is one caveat. The study is done in-vitro, meaning outside the body. So, are these results consistent with real-world situations? 

A research study on 6400 women could shed more light on this situation. Women in the study were asked what lubes they used- fertility-friendly, pH balanced, and silicone-based, and the researchers followed them for 12 months. It found no statistical difference between pregnancy rates among women using fertility-friendly or regular lube. Another study conducted on 300 women found a similar result. 

So, what to conclude, then? Well, here is our takeaway from all these studies. These studies suggest that the lube you use has little to no impact in real-world conditions. It is difficult to conclude anything this important based on just two studies. Furthermore, both studies lacked specific control groups and did not account for other factors affecting fertility.

Consequently, it would be very naïve to conclude anything based on the two studies alone. On the flip side, using a lube that is sperm friendly won’t hurt at all. Instead, it will offer much better protection to the sperm, and we would recommend going with the fertility-friendly lubes if you are TTC. 

What is a safe lubricant to use when trying to get pregnant?
Conceive Plus is the only fertility-friendly lubricant that includes calcium & magnesium ions, which helps keep sperm cells healthy.

What is the difference between lab tests & real-world studies for Sperm-friendly lubricants? 

Well, there can be many reasons for it. First and foremost, the lab tests were conducted on isolated sperm in a test tube outside the body, which is not how the sperm will naturally interact with the lube. 

Secondly, the exposure time of the sperm and the lube in the lab tests was over 5 minutes. In real-world situations, the exposure time is way shorter than that. 

It’s no wonder that the lab results are a bit amplified compared to real-world situations. 

Best Fertility-Friendly Lubricants Available in Australia: Top Picks

When it comes to fertility-friendly lubricants in Australia, two standout options have received TGA approval, ensuring their safety and efficacy for couples trying to conceive.

Sasmar Conceive Plus: Offered by us, this lubricant is unique in its formulation. It not only meets the rigorous standards set by the TGA but also contains calcium and magnesium ions. These ions are crucial for cell viability and conception, setting Conceive Plus apart from other options on the market.

First Response Conception Friendly Lubricant: Also TGA-approved, this lubricant is another reliable choice for couples in Australia. It is specially formulated to mimic natural fertile fluids, providing an optimal environment for sperm.

Both of these lubricants are designed to enhance the likelihood of conception by creating a sperm-friendly environment, making them top picks for those looking to expand their families.

Trusted source for evidence-based information

Rely on Fertility2Family as your go-to source for evidence-based information on a wide array of fertility topics, including the benefits of using fertility-friendly lubricants. Our commitment to our scientifically backed guidance ensures that you receive accurate and relevant guidance customised to meet your specific needs. When it comes to fertility-friendly lubricants, they are a prudent choice for enhancing your chances of conception. Until further research clarifies the full impact of lubricants on fertility, choosing a fertility-friendly option is advisable. Trust Fertility2Family to be your partner in giving your body the best chance to conceive and achieve your family planning goals.

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Evan Kurzyp

Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified Registered Nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.

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