IVF and Intercourse

Question: When should an IVF couple stop having sex?

Answer: Whenever they want to, subject to the laws of their state or municipality.

is sexual intercourse during the ivf treatment?

is sexual intercourse during the ivf treatment?

It can be easy to get worked up over when a couple last had sex during an IVF procedure. There were two reasons.

A doctor may get concerned about getting a “just right” sperm sample. You can say that, like a soufflé, sperm had an exact time for preparation. Second, a doctor may want to  make the intrauterine environment is most comfortable for the embryos.

The problem with this is figuring out how to go about doing this. Some will argue that intercourse, with its shakes, rattles and rolls, could not be good for delicate embryos. And heaven forbid orgasm should occur! Moving earth and implantation did not seem a good match.

Now for the reality:

In an IVF cycle we can accomodate almost any vintage sperm. Consider two polar extremes. First: the recent ejaculation. Sometimes we find that the specimen you get in the lab the morning of retrieval is usable, but could be better, and hence the patient may be asked for another one.

Total time of abstinence: one hour.

At the other extreme is the case where you may work with “electro ejaculated” sperm, usually in men with spinal cord injuries.

Total time of abstinence: years.

So we can usually do pretty well with just about anything we get. But why argue with the old 2-5 day abstinence rule? Isn’t it best to optimize the sperm to whatever extent possible?

Maybe, but some couples actually do get the urge to have sex during an IVF process, and that may be a really nice thing to share at a stressful time. Or it may just be fun. Do we really want one of them to have to say, “Not tonight, dear — it violates our 2-5 day window?”

Further, involuntary ejaculations still occur. Wet dreams are not confined to 16 year-olds. There is no reason a man should look at this body as a traitor to the cause when that occurs.

Finally, regarding intercourse and implantation, do we really think that the very system that nature designed for procreation is its own worst enemy?

The human reproductive tract is placed deep in the pelvis for a good reason- it is protected there. And the layers of muscle, ligaments and connective and fatty tissue around it work as pretty good packing material.

So if you feel like it, go ahead. And if you don’t, don’t.