From Britain's leading fertility expert, an intriguing question...Is a woman more likely to conceive if she enjoys sex? By Professor Robert Winston
The more frequently you have sex, the more chance you have of getting pregnant. Nobody will be surprised at that - but what is surprising is that, according to various scientific studies, an average couple in Britain having reasonably regular sex have only about an 18 per cent chance of conceiving in any given month.
Interestingly, in New South Wales the chance of getting pregnant each month is significantly higher at about 24 per cent. And that's almost certainly because Australians tend to have sex more often.
In Europe, the French tend to think of themselves as the sexiest nation, but it turns out the average chance of pregnancy per month in Paris (if you are a native) is about 15 per cent. To many Britons, this may be a rather satisfying statistic. Throughout my career as a professor at Imperial College in London treating people suffering from infertility, I have often wondered how much a couple's physical relationship impacts on their chances of conception.
It was some years ago that I first read that it is not merely the frequency of intercourse that improves a woman's chance of conceiving but also how often she has an orgasm.
Obviously, for men an orgasm is essential for a pregnancy, because without one sperm will not be released. But previously the female orgasm, though highly pleasurable, has often been thought of as being biologically useless. Certainly, this link between satisfying sex and conception is an interesting one
But it was with some trepidation that I first researched this idea 20 years ago. Back then, I organised a study of infertile women attending a clinic at Hammersmith Hospital.
It was one of the trickiest and most delicate pieces of research I ever conducted, as it required considerable tact and sensitivity. We had to ask patients about the most intimate aspect of their sexual relationship, particularly about how satisfying it was and how often they had an orgasm.
One of my female medical colleagues conducted much of this questionnaire in the belief that women would be more likely to speak candidly to her. Over many months, we built up a picture from conversations with nearly 1,000 female patients. When analysing the answers, we divided our patients into three main groups. The first group were women who had entirely healthy and apparently fertile male partners, but despite extensive investigation had no diagnosable cause for their infertility.
The second group were women with damaged or blocked Fallopian tubes, which meant the sperm could not meet the egg and therefore fertilisation could not take place. And in the third group were women who did not ovulate because of hormonal problems and those whose partners had a low sperm count. It turned out that the women in the first group with completely unexplained infertility tended to say they had a rather unsatisfying sexual relationship and seldom or never had an orgasm.
These women were medically entirely normal and our tests failed to find an explanation for their childlessness.
Article 20th May 2010: www.dailymail.co.uk
So how is this of interest to lesbian couples I hear you ask. Well surely having pleasurable sex with your partner, be it male or female still helps in the preparation for conception, the orgasm not only helps with relaxation, but one theory is that the muscles of the vagina and the womb contract, sometimes quite vigorously, during orgasm and that way more sperm enters the uterus, helping the journey to meet the egg in the fallopian tubes. This may give reason to the fact that home insemination using donor sperm, within a relaxed environment, whereby the partner can also be involved in the baby making process, can have higher success rates than artificial insemination (intra-cervical insemination) within a clinical situation.
It is such a good job though that lesbian women don't conceive every time they have enjoyable sex, otherwise there would be alot more babies in the world.
Pride Angel www.prideangel.com