About one in six South African couples of reproductive age experience difficulty falling pregnant, with fertility problems affecting both men and women equally.
The causes of infertility include retrograde ejaculation, impotence, hormone deficiency, environmental pollutants, scarring from STDs or decreased sperm count (in males). In women, blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, ovulation dysfunction or fibroids are common causes, according to the Infertility Awareness Association of SA.
Research indicates that most popular lubricants also have a negative effect on sperm motility, the fertilisation process and the chances of conception. Treatments for infertility include surgery on fallopian tubes, hormone treatment, sperm insemination and in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
A new sperm-friendly lubricant has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a lubricant for couples trying to conceive naturally and is also available in SA. Called Conceive Plus, it claims to be the only lubricant to contain both calcium and magnesium ions, essential for cell viability and fertilisation.
It's gentle formula means that this lubricant also matches fertile cervical fluid and semen to create a conception-friendly environment and is compatible with sperm, oocytes (immature female reproductive cells) and embryos. It is isotonic and has a pH range compatible with human sperm survival and migration. The lubricant helps enhance the ease and comfort of intimate sexual activity and supplement the body's natural lubrication.
According to US physician Dr Sharon Orrange, most common lubricants can limit sperm motility and sperm integrity, meaning that most doctors would suggest women trying to conceive should avoid using them.
"Conceive Plus will be the first lubricant that does not harm the process of fertilisation," she wrote on Daily Strength in November 2013.
You can find out more about it and get a hold of some by visiting www.getpregnant.co.za.