Effects of Vaginal Lubricants on In-Vitro Progressive Spermatozoa Motility

Stacey L. Wilson, Jamila K. Adam, Suresh Babu Naidu Krishna


Vaginal lubricants are used to solve intercourse difficulties or as sexual enhancers, but recent reports raise questions about their safety in terms of fertility. In this study, twenty semen samples were tested against commercially available vaginal lubricants for progressive spermatozoa motility and vitality with varying exposure time intervals. Results showed that the vaginal lubricant which least affected progressive spermatozoa motility was the oil-based vaginal lubricant, which kept the mean percentage of progressive spermatozoa motility within the minimum normal range of 32%, following 60 minutes of exposure. The silicone-based vaginal lubricant produced similar results to the oil-based vaginal lubricant, however the progressive spermatozoa motility dropped below the minimum normal range within 60 minutes of exposure. The fertility lubricant did not produce mean progressive motilities that were within the normal minimum range at any of the three time intervals, producing poor results overall. The vaginal lubricant which produced the poorest results was the water-based, which immobilized all of the spermatozoa within 5 minutes of exposure and killed on average 95.23% within 60 minutes. Although further assessment is required, these results highlight potential fertility issues related to the formulation of commercially available vaginal lubricants. (Afr J Reprod Health 2017; 21[3]: 96-101).

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