UK

For a minority the answer to conception may simply be to have more sex, study claims

Lockdown reveals one answer for infertility – more sex! Eight per cent of couples seeking treatment fell pregnant naturally when covid stopped their treatment and they had sex three or four times a week

  • University of Modena tracked 431 couples having assisted reproductive therapy
  • During lockdown 34 of the couples experienced a spontaneous pregnancy
  • Couples had been having sex three or four times a week between March and May

Britons spend millions on fertility treatments every year, but a study claims that for a minority the answer to conception may simply be to have more sex.

Scientists tracked 431 couples having assisted reproductive therapy when lockdown was imposed between March and May last year – temporarily halting their treatment.

During that period, 34 of the couples – around 8 per cent – experienced a spontaneous pregnancy without any medical help.

When researchers quizzed the couples, they found they had been having sex three or four times a week during lockdown. 

But among non-pregnant couples, it was less than twice a week. Most of the women who conceived were younger and had been having fertility treatment for shorter periods.

Britons spend millions on fertility treatments every year, but a study claims that for a minority the answer to conception may simply be to have more sex

Researchers at the University of Modena, Italy, said lockdown had provided the perfect circumstances to study the frequency of sex among couples mostly confined to home. 

In a report, published in the journal Andrology, they said: ‘The high pregnancy rate in a very short time-frame reveals an under-explored cause of infertility – the frequency of sexual intercourse.

‘Fertility treatment should be directed at those who really need it, avoiding unnecessary over-treatment for those couples able to conceive spontaneously.’ 

The report added: ‘Doctors should better investigate the sexual habits of infertile couples, such as the number of times a week that they have intercourse.’

Britons spend almost £70million a year on fertility remedies such as IVF, most of it privately. One cycle of treatment averages around £5,000. Up to one in seven UK couples has problems conceiving.

Professor Sheena Lewis, specialist in reproductive medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, said: ‘This study highlights the fact that couples with infertility issues often lose interest in sex. But it involves a small number of women.

‘And if there are specific issues to blame for the infertility – such as a woman’s blocked Fallopian tubes or a man’s lack of sperm, no amount of sex will lead to pregnancy.’

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