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Johannesburg - Couples struggling to conceive a baby may just have a new lifeline.

A new “sperm-friendly” lubricant, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, has become available locally.

According to Infertility Awareness Association South Africa (Ifaasa), about one in six couples of reproductive age have a fertility problem. A couple is regarded as infertile when they have not conceived after 12 months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

Research also indicates that most popular lubricants have a negative effect on sperm motility, the fertilisation process and the chances of conception.

Enter the new Conceive Plus lubricant.

“In a lot of cases, lubricants are used for the pleasure element during intercourse and not so much for the aiding of conception.

“A lot of these lubricants interfere with sperm motility to the point where it has been shown that some lubricants kill some sperm,” Dr Simon Mangcwatywa, head of medical affairs at health company Litha Pharma, said recently.

The new lubricant matches fertile cervical fluid and semen to create a conception-friendly environment.

It is isotonic and has a pH range compatible with human sperm survival and migration.

“It is also a naturally occurring product, meaning it has natural ingredients. Two of which being calcium and magnesium which aid fertility,” Mangcwatywa added.

According to Ifaasa, infertility is a problem split 40-40 percent between men and women, and for the other 20 percent it’s a joint problem or the cause is unknown.

The causes include retrograde ejaculation, impotence, hormone deficiency, environmental pollutants, scarring from sexually transmitted diseases or a decreased sperm count; in women, by blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, ovulation dysfunction or fibroids.

Mangcwatywa said couples didn’t need a doctor’s prescription for the lubricant, which retails for R112 online, and that it was available at pharmacies.

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The Star