Saturday, November 21, 2009

How your gynecologist can mess up your sex life if you are infertile

All couples know that they need to have sex in order to make a baby. Many infertile couples are worried that may not be having sex at the right time when they fail to get pregnant. They know that they are meant to have sex during the fertile time - but they are often very confused about the details, including: how to calculate their fertile time; how often to have sex; whether it's okay to have sex daily; and what position to have sex in.

Now these are questions most fertile couples never need to think about. Infertile couples, however, start obsessing about sex - and many of them will turn to their fertile friends, to get "advise". After all, couples who've had a baby by having sex must know a lot about baby making sex, so why not ask them ?

Unfortunately, most couples are quite clueless . They end up providing their expertise ( I went to Goa for a holiday and got pregnant, so that's your best option) , without realising that they maybe poorly informed - or that what worked for them may not work for everyone !

This is why many couples turn to their family doctor or gynecologist for advise. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that even many doctors are still very poorly informed about these basics

Thus, many doctors still advise couples to have sex for 3 days before and for 3 days after ovulation. This is bad advise, because a woman cannot get pregnant if she has sex after she has ovulated. After ovulation, the cervical mucus , which is now under the influence of the progesterone hormone , will not allow the sperm to swim up through it. This means a woman is relatively infertile after ovulation - a fact many doctors still do not know.

Similarly, most doctors do not bother to teach women how they can track their cervical mucus to monitor their fertile time.

One of the commonest misconceptions is with regards to what the optimal frequency of intercourse is, in order to maximise fertility. Many doctors advise couples to have sex every alternate day; while others advise couples to "save up" their sperm ( by abstaining from sex for 3-5 days) and then to have sex on the day they ovulate. This is wrong advise - but because it comes from the "expert", many couples religiously follow this. Timing sex like this actually reduces fertility - and often causes the husband and wife to start fighting with each other, because the wife insists that they only have sex at the time "recommended" by the doctor.

Actually, the best prescription to improve your fertility is to have sex as often as possible. As long as you are depositing the sperm inside the vagina, you will not run out of sperm, and they will find their way to the egg. Daily sex has been actually shown to improve fertility. While it is true that the volume of the ejaculate does drop with frequent sex, as does the total sperm count, the ejaculated sperm are "fresher" and of better quality. Saving up sperm for the "fertile time" just increases the number of dead or tired old sperm in the semen !

Some doctors advise couples to use K-Y jelly to help facilitate sex. While K-Y jelly is a good lubricant and can facilitate sex, it is also great at killing sperm - a fact very few doctors know !

Older doctors still advise women to keep pillows under their hips and to rest for 10 min after sex, to prevent the semen from failling out ! Semen always leaks out after sex - this is completely normal, and can be safely ignored . It's actually a good sign - it just means that the semen is being properly deposited in the vagina, and because it is of high volume, the extra seminal fluid leaks out !

So the good news is that you don't need to worry about "fertile times" or your sexual frequency or position. Having sex as often as possible is your best ( and simplest) option ! I guess this makes sense from an evolutionary perspective as well - man was designed to transmit his genes, and frequent sex maximises your ability to do so !

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