Does lube kill sperm?

Like your basic K-Y Jelly, a water-based lubricant, is it harmful to sperm or does it otherwise interfere with conception?

We’re trying to get pregnant, but no luck so far, and at certain times of the month we’re having sex more often than we usually would. Sometimes we’re in a bit of a rush, like before I leave for work, and we don’t have the time it takes to get her… well, you understand. So we’re thinking of getting some lube but when I checked the ingredients, I couldn’t be sure whether or not some of those chemicals would be good for sperm.

Thanks in advance.

Yes, it does. If you are trying to get pregnant, try a lubricant called Pre-Seed. It’s similar in properties to semen and does not kill the sperm.

Total rubbish. The stuff that kills the sperm is spermicide. The most common spermicide is Nonoxynol 9. If the lube has this, don’t use it if you want to get pregnant.

Johnson & Johnson makers of K-Y (FYI: It’s a very slow loading Flash site). On the website it says K-Y doesn’t kill sperm but **may ** inhibit the transmission.

As the above poster mentioned Pre-Seed is often recommended in it’s place

The question in this thread is not whether lube is specifically designed to kill sperm, but whether it decreases fertility at all. Even if lube were to, say, kill 30% of the sperm (thus making it not particularly useful as a contraceptive) this could still be a significant effect from the perspective of someone trying to get pregnant.

This is not to say that EmAnJ shouldn’t provide a cite if she has one, but if you want to claim that lube is fertility neutral, then so should you.

While not properly a spermicide, KY and other lubricant jellies can impair sperm motility and shorten their lives enough to inhibit conception in some folks. Not reliably enough to make it a birth control method, but enough so that couples trying to get pregnant should not use it.

Miller B, Klein TA, Opsahl MS. The effect of a surgical lubricant on in vivo sperm penetration of cervical mucus. Fertil Steril 1994;61:1171-3.

If the OP’s goal were to avoid pregnancy, then this would be the correct answer, since KY certainly doesn’t kill sperm reliably. Given, though, that the OP is instead trying for pregnancy, the relevant question is not whether KY kills all sperm, but rather, whether it kills any of them.

Sorry guys, it was a fly by posting. All cites have been provided already I see.

We stopped using KY and started using PreSeed on the advice of our RE because we are trying to get pregnant.

Cite: effects of coital lubricants on sperm motility in vitro. | Human Reproduction | Oxford Academic

This study states that KY Jelly head movement parameters and thus inhibited fertility. This study also looked at the effects of saliva and olive oil (some people use this for lube).

Also, you should be avoiding saliva as well, as this can inhibit motility -

We used Pre Seed, and while it didn’t help us to get pregnant (there were other factors at play for us), at least we knew that we weren’t harming our chances every month.

Good luck in your procreative endeavours!

ETA: Dammit, pipped at the post!

Actually, sperm is kind of picky. The stuff that’ll keep it happy longest in the lab is an egg yolk fortified phosphate buffer, pH 6.7-6.8 (pdf reference from 1939). Sperm lives less long under other conditions, so it’s reasonable to claim that lube kills sperm.It just just doesn’t do it reliably enough or fast enough to count as a spermicide.

This sounds like an actual scientific validation of a variation on “Murphy’s Law”:

Q. Will lubricant act as a spermicide and inhibit fertilization nd pregnancy?
A. Only if you don’t want it to.


A lot of people seem to swear by egg whites as a lube when trying to get pregnant.

Of course, quickie sex is probably not the best for trying to get pregnant in the first place. The woman’s orgasm plays a role in getting the uterus to dip into or even suck in sperm. I seem to recall that this was supposed to be most effective if the woman reaches orgasm a minute or so before or after ejaculation.

That’s more of a “Desmond Morris”-type hypothesis, rather than a theory with scientific evidence to back it up.

There are no good studies out there that I can find that show woman’s orgasm playing any significant role in conception.

[sub]Desmond Morris has made many interesting conjectures, but doesn’t actually test many of them out[/sub]