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Question 42. Can we have sex during a treatment cycle?

Posted Feb 28 2011 1:02pm
Sometimes medical advice makes sense and sometimes it doesn't. Historically, fertility patients have been told to contracept during the month that they plan to start luteal lupron in order to avoid conceiving while on lupron. Actually, the registry of patients that have, in fact, conceived on lupron suggest no risk of birth defects in the children born after this little oops. Years ago in Long Island I had a patient that had 8 years of infertility. She and her husband finally got up the nerve to do IVF and boom, she conceived on lupron. Then 2 years later she wanted to have another baby and voila, she conceived on lupron again! Go figure.

So this recommendation against sex during a luteal lupron cycle has morphed into no sex during any treatment cycle which makes little sense except in a few cases as detailed below. Now if a woman is really bloated and unconfortable while on fertility drugs then that is a totally different issue. In that case we send the partner off to take care of business on his own or encourage then to pursue other ways to avoid delaying ejaculation for weeks before an IUI or IVF procedure.

42. Can we have sex during a treatment cycle?

In general, the answer is yes. Many experts, however, recommend no coitus for 2 to 3 days prior to an anticipated IUI to “build up” the male partner’s sperm count and volume. Also, some men may experience difficulty producing a specimen if they have recently had coitus. For men who have a low sperm count or motility, it is recommended that they abstain from sexual relations for 3 to 5 days prior to a planned IUI. In patients who are at risk for hyperstimulation syndrome, it may be wise to refrain from sex until the ovarian response has been assessed. In patients with an excessive response to fertility drugs the cycle may be abandoned and yet ovulation could still occur. Since the sperm can survive up to 5-7 days after intercourse, a pregnancy could occur even in the setting of a cancelled IUI or IVF cycle.
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