Intercourse around the time of embryo transfer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In vitro fertilization treatment breaks the normal nexus between sexual intercourse and conception. Many couples abstain from intercourse around the time of embryo transfer as they fear that uterine contractions at orgasm or pressure created by penile contact with the cervix may dislodge the embryo. Furthermore, many doctors actively discourage their patients from having intercourse around the time of embryo transfer as they are concerned that it may produce painful rupture of ovarian follicles or super-fecundity related to natural and IVF conception [1]. Despite these concerns, there is a substantial body of evidence supporting the need for exposure of the female reproductive tract to semen/seminal plasma around the time of embryo implantation in order to maximize reproductive efficiency. Several animal studies have identified that components of seminal plasma have the ability to improve embryo development and implantation rates in vivo [2]. For example, removal of the seminal plasma producing male accessory sex glands of rodents does not preclude natural conception but does result in impaired blastocyst development and pregnancy outcomes [3]. Therefore, it is apparent that a policy of abstinence around the time of embryo transfer may not only be unnecessary but potentially detrimental. This chapter will examine the evidence suggesting why intercourse around the time of embryo transfer is beneficial to IVF outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHow to Improve your ART Success Rates
Subtitle of host publicationAn Evidence-Based Review of Adjuncts to IVF
EditorsGab Kovacs
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9780511894756
ISBN (Print)9781107648326
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


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