The type of assisted reproduction treatment you undergo and the phase you are at determine whether you can have sexual intercourse with your partner
“How many days do I have to wait after the embryo transfer to have sexual intercourse with my partner?”, “If I have sex at some time during treatment, can I alter the outcome?” … These are common questions that patients pose in the doctor’s consulting room. Sex is part of our lives, and is a fundamental part of the relationship with our partner. For this reason, it is normal to have doubts about it when we are undergoing treatment.
Guided by our specialist in assisted reproduction, Dr. Daniel Mataro, we will help you clear them up. First of all, we need to know that, depending on the type of treatment we are following, the advice will be different.
In vitro fertilisation: wait a week
“In the case of someone undergoing in vitro fertilisation using her own eggs it will be necessary to refrain from sexual intercourse for one week”, explains Dr. Mataro. The reason is clear: in this type of treatment the stimulation of the ovaries is considerable and it makes them increase in size. Consequently, when there is penetration during intercourse it can even move the ovary, which would be painful for the woman. “In order to avoid any discomfort of this kind, we recommend refraining from sex where there is vaginal penetration for at least one week”, he says.
“In other treatments, however”- such as in vitro fertilisation with egg donation, in vitro fertilisation by frozen embryo transfer or artificial insemination -“the type of medication is different and there is no risk of pain during intercourse. Thus, in these cases, it won’t be necessary to wait for a few days to have sex with your partner”, he adds.
What about before the transfer?
Sometimes patients also have doubts about whether or not to have intercourse from the moment when they start treatment with ovarian stimulation. “In the case of undergoing artificial insemination treatment, even though sexual intercourse is not contraindicated, the man should remember that it is necessary to abstain between 2 to 3 days before leaving the semen sample”, explains Dr. Mataro. “It is only in the case of in vitro fertilisations using one’s own eggs, even though intercourse is not contraindicated, that it may be painful for the woman, due to the stimulation itself”. This recommendation equally applies at the moment before, and after, follicular puncture and before the embryo transfer.
No influence on the outcome
“While it is true that sex after assisted reproduction treatment has not been studied widely, there are reports that indicate that having sexual intercourse, or even abstaining from it, does not change the treatment outcome,” explains Dr. Mataro. In this regard, it is perfectly all right to have intercourse before and after the embryo transfer – except in those cases in which abstinence is indicated –after a positive beta test and during the following weeks. “You can act the same way as in a natural pregnancy: unless there is a specific medical factor, sexual intercourse is not contraindicated”, he concludes.
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The effect of intercourse on pregnancy rates during assisted human reproduction. K.P. Tremellen, D. Valbuena, J. Landeras, A. Ballesteros, J. Martinez, S. Mendoza, R. J.Norman, S. A. Robertson and C. Simon. Human Reproduction vol.15 no.12 pp.2653–2658, 2000.