Looking for another reason to have sex? Here’s a good one for you; research studies are showing a more definitive correlation between couples who have more sex and increased fertility. At first, this seems like a no-brainer right? More Sex = More Sperm = More Chances For Sperm to Meet Egg.
But – here’s the interesting part – these studies conclude that having more sex outside the typical “fertility window” also increases a couple’s chances of conceiving. So, what’s that all about?
Sex During Nonfertile Windows Can Also Increase Fertility
Lead investigator Tierney Lorenz, from the Indiana University at Bloomington’s Kinsey Institute study, said that while medical researchers were aware couples who had the most sex – even during infertile parts of the female’s menstrual cycle – had the best chances of conceiving, they didn’t really know why.
Now, researchers from the study do have an idea of why – and it has to do with the relationship between immune system function and fertility.
The study evaluated immune system function in 30 different women. Half of the women were sexually active and the other half were not. In an article posted on usnews.com, Lorenz is quoted, “We’re actually seeing the immune system responding to a social behavior: sexual activity,” and she continued, “The sexually active women’s immune systems were preparing in advance to the mere possibility of pregnancy.”
Consider how the immune system works; it’s designed to attack a foreign invader. In the case of sexual intercourse leading to pregnancy, that foreign invader could be identified as a sperm, many sperm or perhaps even the development of a fetus. Thus, it’s to the body’s advantage to get familiar with sex, and sperm, and the biochemical array that is produced as the result of sex. This is so the immune system learns “this is a safe and healthy activity, these ‘invaders’ aren’t a threat, and we’ll back off if anything comes of these shenanigans.”
Thus, having sex during the nonfertile times in your cycle could very well be paving the way for an immune system that helps to support – rather than attack – a zygote or fetus.
Sexual Activity Enhances Immune System Function
Here are some of the other things researchers are learning about the connection between sexual activity, immune system boosting and their effects on fertility:
- Sexually active women tend to have higher Type 2 T-cell counts during the luteal phase of their cycle. These particular cells help the uterus to create a more welcoming environment for a fertilized egg, protecting sperm cells or a fertilized egg/embryo from attack.
- Women who have sex more regularly also have higher numbers of Type 1 T-cells during the follicular phase (right before ovulation). These Type 1 T-cells safeguard you and your body’s tissues from illness or infection.
- Immunoglobulin antibody levels are higher in sexually active women. These antibodies, produced by white blood cells, are instrumental in fighting off harmful microbes, including bacteria and viruses.
This is pretty exciting news. Now, doctors can tell their patients to get busier – not just during the five days of peak fertility time but throughout the rest of the month as well.
Is Infertility Negatively Affecting Your Intimacy & Sex Life?
This news is also one more reason couples who have struggled with infertility should work hard to protect their emotional connection and intimacy. It’s a rare couple that moves through years of infertility battles – and fertility treatments – and feels as intimate, attracted and sexually excited as they did before their infertility diagnosis.
If you and your partner are struggling, please consider infertility counseling – preferably with a therapist who specializes in infertility. The more open, communicative and bonded the two of you are – the better, not only for improving your chances of conceiving via a healthy sex life, but also because it will help you to be a more united team when baby finally arrives.
Contact RRC to learn more about fertility treatment or to get referrals for wonderful fertility counselors right here in the Kansas City and Overland Park area.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net