Indiana – Women could increase their fertility rates by having an active sex life, according to researchers from the Indiana University. They found that having sex make physiological changes in a woman’s body, rising pregnancy chances —even outside the ovulation period.
The study could mean a big help to both people trying to get pregnant, and also people that suffers from autoimmune disorders.
“It’s a common recommendation that partners trying to have a baby should engage in regular intercourse to increase the woman’s chances of getting pregnant – even during so-called “non-fertile” periods – although it’s unclear how this works,” Tierne Lorenz said, according to EurekAlert. “This research is the first to show that the sexual activity may cause the body to promote types of immunity that support conception,” added Lorenz, the author of the study.
The study, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility and the journal Physiology and Behavior, was conducted on participants from the Kinsey Institute’s WISH (Women, Immunity, and Sexual Health). Scientists collected data about the menstrual cycle in 30 women, 15 being sexually active and the other 15 being abstinent.
They found that, in the sexually active group, there was a major change in helper T cells, and the proteins they use to communicate – cells important for the autoimmune system to avoid possible threats.
To get to the point of fertility, there are this type 1 helper T cells we already mentioned, but there are also the type 2 that basically tell the body that the sperm isn’t a foreign invader, and help the pregnancy to develop. None of the women in the abstinent group showed changes of this kind.
“The female body needs to navigate a tricky dilemma,” Lorenz said. “In order to protect itself, the body needs to defend against foreign invaders. But if it applies that logic to sperm or a fetus, then pregnancy can’t occur. The shifts in immunity that women experience may be a response to this problem.”
Researchers believe that the autoimmune system doesn’t only responds to biological threats in a passive way, but it also adapts to changes in the behavior of a woman’s body, such as sexual activity.
“We’re actually seeing the immune system responding to a social behavior: sexual activity,” Lorenz concluded. “The sexually active women’s immune systems were preparing in advance to the mere possibility of pregnancy.”