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Pre-Seed Lube Review: Can it Support Fertility?

Pre-Seed Lube Review: Can it Support Fertility?

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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Pre-Seed lubricant is manufactured by a company called First Response and is marketed as a “fertility lubricant”. The company claims that it can support sperm quality and that it’s a better option for couples trying to conceive than traditional lubricant.

In this article we’ll review the ingredients in Pre-Seed to determine if their health claims are likely to be accurate, and analyze whether traditional lubricant even poses a fertility risk. We’ll also examine medical studies testing Pre-Seed.

Is Regular Lubricant Harmful to Fertility?

Pre-Seed’s entire value proposition rests on the notion that regular lube can decrease fertility rates. This is a topic that’s been studied extensively in published medical research.

A medical review was published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal in 2013 which examined the effects of lubricant on natural fertility. The researchers examined results from 19 separate clinical trials on the topic.

The study authors noted that while in vitro (test tube) studies found some lubricants to decrease sperm motility, there was no difference in fertility rates in population studies comparing couples using lubricant to couples going without lubricant. 

A more recent meta-study published in 2018 found similar results. The researchers pooled data from pregnancy planners across different countries where patients trying to conceive had completed questionnaires about sexual activity (including lubricant use).

This study further broke down the lubrication use data into different categories: water-based lubricant, oil-based lubricant and silicone-based lubricant. None of the categories of lubricant use caused delayed pregnancies or reduced probability of pregnancy.

Based on the available research we don’t currently believe that lubrication use is a fertility risk. It’s true that many test tube studies show a negative effect on sperm parameters, but lube doesn’t seem to cause reduced pregnancies in real-world use.

More research is likely to emerge on this topic in the future, and perhaps it makes sense for infertile couples to be cautious of lube use due to the test tube studies, but based on the research available today lubrication use doesn’t seem to be much of a factor at all when compared with other lifestyle factors like obesity and poor diet which we know can negatively impact sperm function.

Pre-Seed Ingredient Review

Pre-Seed lube ingredients

Pre-Seed’s formulation is developed to have a similar pH to the vagina. The company claims that this supports sperm survival and sperm quality.

Purified water and hydroxyethylcellulose provide the gelling lubrication function. Sodium phosphate can be used as a thickener and emulsifier, and sodium hydroxide helps balance pH.

Most of the ingredients in the formulation are non-toxic and seem sensible for a lubricant formulation, however there are two ingredients we find questionable: methylparaben and propylparaben.

Parabens are a class of chemical compounds which are preservatives, and may have negative impacts on fertility.

One animal trial on propylparaben found that it decreased sperm function and efficiency at doses below the upper limit established by the European Union (E.U.) and Japan.

A human trial found that chronic exposure to propylparaben may impair fertility in women due to its negative effect on ovarian reserve.

Many of the studies on parabens and reproductive health report on systemic levels of parabens, mostly due to exposure by food, cosmetic products and environment, rather than topical exposure like lubrication. But since it’s proven in medical research that compounds can be absorbed through the vagina, it may be sensible for patients struggling with fertility to avoid lubricants containing parabens.

Clinical Trial Review

Pre-Seed has been tested in several clinical trials on fertility published in legitimate medical journals.

A 2014 medical review on vaginal lubricants and sperm function compared effects on sperm parameters like motility and DNA fragmentation when exposed to a variety of commercial lubricants including Pre-Seed.

The results from this research are interesting: Pre-Seed performed the best for sperm motility and sperm vitality (% of live sperm), but the worst for sperm DNA fragmentation. 

A clinical trial published in the Fertility and Sterility journal compared the effects of commercial lubricants on sperm cells in a test tube and Pre-Seed performed better than FemGlide, Replens and Astroglide in terms of sperm quality and motility. Since test tube studies on lubricants have shown differing outcomes to real-world trials, as discussed previously, we don’t find this result to be very meaningful.

Overall Pre-Seed is proven in medical studies to be superior to other lubricants in most test parameters of semen quality. 

Do Safer Natural Alternatives Exist?

Consumers often wonder whether a more natural, paraben-free alternative to commercial lubricants exist. Unfortunately there isn’t any medical research we can locate on a natural compound that’s safe for intravaginal use and has no negative effect on fertility.

Coconut oil is often discussed in popular health media as a lube alternative, but it’s never been studied for this purpose in medical trials. Coconut also has an alkaline pH which may cause issues in the vagina, which has a naturally acidic pH.

We would recommend against using untested natural lubricant alternatives. The risk is too high of infection or irritation.

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Pre-Seed seems to be the best over-the-counter (OTC) commercial lubricant option in terms of safety and efficacy. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend the product because it contains parabens which may be harmful to reproductive health. However it appears safer than other commercial alternatives like KY Jelly based on medical studies.

Real-world data doesn’t show an association between use of lube and fertility, so healthy couples shouldn’t have to worry much about this as a contributing factor to infertility. Couples struggling to conceive may want to avoid lube altogether, if possible, due to test tube data on its harmful effects on sperm. 

Since there don’t appear to be any safe, natural alternatives to commercial lubrication products, Pre-Seed does seem to be the best option for people who need to use lube during sex. We hope that in the future a paraben-free formulation is developed, as we believe this would be safer.

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