Even With Sex, Practice Does Make Perfect

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YoungCoupleEmbracing-20070508Researchers from Indiana University found that women who engage frequently in sexual activity have a higher chance of getting pregnant. Here s to hoping a lot of practice -- and not much money -- was spent on that study.

We kid, we kid. (No pun intended.)

The findings may seem conspicuous, but they hold a lot more substance. Experts say when trying to conceive, making intercourse a common practice -- rather than a precisely-timed event -- triggers the psychological changes that improve the chance of conception, even outside of the ovulation window.

The study was led by Tierney Lorenz, a visiting research scientist at the Kinsey Institute, and co-authored by Julia R. Heiman and Gregory E. Demas, both professors at the university. Their findings are published in the journals Fertility and Sterility and Psychology and Behavior.

The researchers looked at data collected across the menstrual cycle in 30 women, about half of whom were sexually active and half of whom were abstinent. Lorenz and colleagues reported that the sexually-active women experienced greater changes in T helper cells, which play an important role within the immune system, by activating cells that destroy intruders in the body.

The female body needs to navigate a tricky dilemma, said Lorenz, who was quoted in the university's press release. 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."

So, even with sexual activity during the so-called non-fertile period, the shift in immunity reflects the body s way of preparing itself for even the slight chance of pregnancy. The shift was not observed in non-sexually active women.

The results could eventually influence recommendations on how often couples eager to conceive should engage in sexual activity.