Does Female Masturbation Affect Implantation? The Experts Explain
Masturbation has long been seen as an immoral vice. By the late 1700s it was even considered a means of causing mental illness. The concept of “self-love,” as the Victorians called it, has always been tied up in taboos and some of those myths still persist today, especially when it comes to fertility. This has led to all kinds of medical questions, like does female masturbation affect implantation of an egg?
So let’s clear the record once and for all: “Women can rest assured that orgasm doesn’t negatively impact any component of fertility in regards to ovulation, fertilization, or implantation.” That’s according to Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, board certified reproductive endocrinologist, Fertility Centers of Illinois. “Many women share this concern with me, and I think it is important to know that if you masturbate and/or experience orgasm it will not negatively impact any component of fertility treatments or trying to conceive on your own. Women under age 35 who have been trying for one year or women over age 35 who have been trying for six months who have not experienced success should pursue fertility testing. It's important to know that there are causes to infertility that can be determined and addressed. Knowledge, especially accurate and helpful information, is power.”
But it’s easy to see why so many might think masturbation might affect egg implantation. “In the context of someone completing fertility treatment, we’ve come a long way from forbidding any sexual activity leading to orgasm to promoting it to aid in conception,” Dr. Edward Marut, board certified endocrinologist with the Fertility Centers of Illinois tells Romper. “Neither is necessarily true.”
Dr. Marut says that unless there is an issue with enlarged ovaries following fertility treatment (which may not be known until the first pregnancy ultrasound), abnormal bleeding, or a pregnancy of unknown location (i.e. ectopic), there is no reason to think that orgasm by any means should be avoided, especially in a natural cycle where conception would occur without medical intervention. Pelvic rest, except in the aforementioned circumstances, is rarely warranted as well.
At most, Dr. Marut says, women undergoing fertility who then have an embryo transferred to the uterus, are advised to take it easy that day. “But that is the only context where pelvic rest would be recommended,” says Dr. Marut. “For couples trying to conceive, pelvic rest would be at odds with how fertility can occur.
In short: “Female masturbation cannot disturb egg implantation,” Dr. Marut says. Colleague Dr. Elie Hobeika, a reproductive endocrinologist with Fertility Centers of Illinois, adds that “The embryo implants 7-8 days after ovulation or 2-3 days after a blastocyst (5-day embryo) transfer during fertility treatment. There are no studies that have shown that masturbation affects implantation.”
Need further convincing? Consider this: “Theoretically, there are uterine cramps that are associated with orgasm, but it is not likely that those affect the ability of an embryo to implant,” explains Dr. Hobeika. “Women who conceive naturally have intercourse concurrent to implantation and the embryo is still able to implant.” So it should work the same way for women undergoing fertility treatment.
For more information, Fertility Centers of Illinois is hosting virtual events for National Infertility Awareness Week with a series of seminars ranging from how to diagnose infertility to how yoga can help. Visit fcionline.com/niaw to take part.
Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, board certified reproductive endocrinologist, Fertility Centers of Illinois, fcionline.com/niaw
Dr. Edward Marut, board certified reproductive endocrinologist, Fertility Centers of Illinois, fcionline.com/niaw
Dr. Elie Hobeika, reproductive endocrinologist with Fertility Centers of Illinois, fcionline.com/niaw