In a first of its kind study, researchers found that more sex affects the immune system and boosts fertility, finally finding a more profound explanation why doctors recommend sexual intercourse even during ‘non-fertile’ periods.
- The study saw to 30 women separated into two groups: sexually active and abstinent
- Sexually active women had a higher count of type 2 helper T cells that aid the body in accepting invading entities, like sperm and embryos
- Women who engaged in regular intercourse also had a higher count of immunoglobulin G antibodies
- The study has underlined that a woman’s body prepares itself better for pregnancy if she’s sexually active
For couple trying to get pregnant, timing is everything. There are certain days during which a woman is more fertile, but physicians still advise couples to have sex regularly. It’s a common recommendation in order to boost chances of conceiving a child. Statistically, it’s understandable.
However, researchers from Kinsey Institute at the University of Indiana have found a biological reason why regular sex increases the chances of conception. They conducted a study on 30 healthy young women, accumulating data across their menstrual cycle. The participants were separated into two groups: those who were sexual active and others who were abstinent.
According to lead author of the study, Tierney Lorenz, the study aimed to finally answer the riddle of how sex outside the “fertile window” still manages to improve chances of becoming pregnant. They observed two differences in the participant groups that provide an explanation.
To better understand, researchers explained that are two types of helper T cells in the body. Type 1 helper T cell aids in the body’s defense against outside threats, while type 2 helper T cell assists it in accepting ‘invaders’ such as sperm or an embryo. Without them, the body would naturally reject both and deem them as threats, which would prevent pregnancies.
Women who were sexually active in the study presented themselves with a significantly higher count of type 2 helper T cells during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. That means that the body was anticipating and preparing itself to accept pregnancy when the uterine lining thickened, just in case.
During the follicular phase of their cycles, sexually active women had a higher number of type 1 helper T cells, when the ovaries’ follicles are still maturing.
Additionally, they emphasized the existence of two types of immunoglobulin, which is A antibodies and G antibodies. While immunoglobulin A antibodies hinders sperm and fertilization, immunoglobulin G antibodies fight diseases without any effect on the uterus.
Women who were sexually active also had higher levels of immunoglobulin G antibodies during the luteal phase, and a bigger count of immunoglobulin A antibodies during the follicular phase.
It was noted that the sexually abstinent women saw no such changes within their bodies among the two phases. This has underlined the fact that increased sexual activity nearly forces the body to go through changes, and that more sex affects the immune system and boosts fertility. The immune system essentially prepares a woman’s body better for achieving pregnancy.
According to Lorenz, this is the first study that proves the body’s response to social behavior, specifically sex. Their findings could potentially help couples who are attempting to conceive a child, and perhaps those with autoimmune disorders.
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