Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Swallowing Semen Cures Morning Sickness?

Posted by on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 1:33 PM

It's a theory. But before straight men band together to form a Le-Leche-League-like organization that provides oral semen supplements to pregnant women everywhere: only the semen of a woman's partner—the semen of the man who impregnated her—can take the edge off her morning sickness.


Comments (51) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
It's a hypothesis, not a theory. And an absurd one at that.
Posted by David from Chicago on July 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM · Report this
also: smiling suppresses the gag reflex.
Posted by deepconcentration on July 10, 2012 at 1:53 PM · Report this
By god, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make if it makes my wife feel better. I wonder if it works on general nausea... To the bedroom!
Posted by NateMan on July 10, 2012 at 1:55 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 4
there you go, discouraging entrepreneurship.
Posted by scary tyler moore on July 10, 2012 at 1:56 PM · Report this
Concur with @1. In scientific terms, this sort of plausible, educated guess that does not yet have any experimental data to support it is a "hypothesis," not a "theory."

However, we should acknowledge that, in ordinary speech, "theory" is often used to mean "hypothesis." (Hence when people say "Evolution is just a theory!" and think that it means that evolution is an educated guess. It was named in the scientific sense, which causes problems in the ordinary-speech sense.)

Scientifically: hypothesis. Ordinary speech: theory.
Posted by DRF on July 10, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this
@1 & @5: it's not that absurd. There's also a theory - or hypothesis, if you prefer - that swallowing her partner's semen can help a woman who is having difficulty conceiving. Basically, some women's bodies treat their partner's semen as toxic. That's fact. And it's thought consuming their semen helps women's bodies adapt to it, same way eating locally made honey can help with allergy attacks.

It sounds ridiculous, I grant you. But most medical stuff does.
Posted by NateMan on July 10, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
If I can't swallow a cracker without gagging, I'm pretty damned sure I'm not going to be able to keep from gagging on a penis.
Posted by shambhaladawa on July 10, 2012 at 2:25 PM · Report this
I think we've crossed a line into voodoo ritual, here.
Posted by Pope Buck I on July 10, 2012 at 2:26 PM · Report this
Where was this line of thinking when I needed it, albeit 30-some years ago! Heck, I would have tried ANYTHING to get the vomiting and nausea to stop. I had gained a total of FOUR pounds when my daughter arrived 10 days early, weighing in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces--go figure!
Posted by Teacher1 on July 10, 2012 at 2:27 PM · Report this
Allyn 10
One part of the theory queried whether morning sickness would lessen after successive pregnancies by the same father. It wasn’t true for me, unfortunately. My morning sickness got worse with each successive pregnancy.

Common knowledge I had been unaware of: pregnancies w/o morning sickness are more likely to end in miscarriage. The only pregnancy I didn’t have morning sickness was the one that failed.

So, umm, yay morning sickness? (There is little more disgusting than throwing up eggs and toast into the shower drain.)
Posted by Allyn on July 10, 2012 at 2:28 PM · Report this
balderdash 11
It's all actually pretty interesting hypothesizing, but it's also about twelve steps too early to start prescribing blowjobs for the actually-relatively-rare phenomenon of morning sickness. This isn't even based on a weak study like most overeager pop-sci reporting - it's based on prestudy speculation.

Then again, incorporating it into your life not only has a minimal energy cost, it would actually be pretty awesome for its own sake, so I suppose there's no reason not to conduct your own experiment if you're so inclined.

@5, and you can do your bit to help shame creationist dickheads by using "theory" and "hypothesis" in their correct technical meanings, rather than interchangeably. I'm willing to grant a distinction between lay and technical speech when it comes to decasyllabic medical terminology, but come on, saying "hypothesis" or just "guess" is not much of a burden to bear.
Posted by balderdash on July 10, 2012 at 2:30 PM · Report this
Allyn 12
@7 Yeah, I laughed at that, too. I could barely stand to kiss my husband most of the time, there’d be little chance of anything more invasive.
Posted by Allyn on July 10, 2012 at 2:33 PM · Report this
Wouldn't testing this out make anyone else nervous? I mean y'know how when you get sick after eating something, you'll often avoid that thing for AGES, even if you know that's not what made you sick? Seems like an awfully risky experiment.
Posted by Dakn on July 10, 2012 at 2:33 PM · Report this
balderdash 14
@13, based on a decade or more in which I could not even look at mayonnaise, I think that is an excellent point.
Posted by balderdash on July 10, 2012 at 2:52 PM · Report this
Zebes 15
Hair of the dog, I guess.
Posted by Zebes on July 10, 2012 at 3:09 PM · Report this
Ok here an idea, and not saying I believe this to be true, but instead of taking it in directly what if they drank it like from a glass? Then again could totally see this being BS.
Posted by Seattle14 on July 10, 2012 at 3:16 PM · Report this
Ophian 17
Tee hee hee, Zebes @15.
Posted by Ophian on July 10, 2012 at 4:14 PM · Report this
@16 you've got enough to fill up a glass!? All I'll be able to give is a lovin' spoonful.
Posted by stephen.g on July 10, 2012 at 4:22 PM · Report this
Doubt this will convince my husband to let me get pregnant.
Posted by wxPDX on July 10, 2012 at 4:25 PM · Report this
sirkowski 20
If I can't swallow a cracker without gagging, I'm pretty damned sure I'm not going to be able to keep from gagging on a penis.

No, see #2
smiling suppresses the gag reflex.
Posted by sirkowski on July 10, 2012 at 4:26 PM · Report this
@13, drinking semen from a GLASS?! I'm not even pregnant, and that would make me vom.
Posted by atombon on July 10, 2012 at 4:28 PM · Report this
No amount of smiling -- or anything really -- would have supressed my gag reflex when I had morning sickness. I love going down on my boyfriend, but during that first trimester everything about my mouth and his penis made me want to hurl.
Posted by ambear on July 10, 2012 at 4:30 PM · Report this
It would be more fun if I was allowed to give talks and inspire journalists based on completely untested hypotheses. Unfortunately in my branch of science (neurobiology, if anyone is interested), I have to have at least some preliminary evidence before anyone is going to give me a speech slot or interview.

Hey, maybe cotton candy cures the common cold! Now to make up a justification based on zero evidence and see if anyone takes me seriously.
Posted by Gwyn on July 10, 2012 at 4:31 PM · Report this
to all the people saying its not a theory, youre wrong. it is a theory.
its just not a Theory.
Posted by james michael on July 10, 2012 at 4:36 PM · Report this
Even if this is true, the idea of saving my semen for my wife to drink in the morning is really disgusting. I also feel like getting a blowjob from my morning sickened wife who just wants to use my cum like an advil would be really unsexy and unpleasant for us both...
Posted by Gerard on July 10, 2012 at 4:42 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 26
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on July 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM · Report this
This will remain a hypothesis because really, how are you going to clinical trials on this one? The best that can be hoped for is anecdotal evidence, and that's completely subjective.

But in the interest of anecdotal evidence, 3 successful full term (and then some) pregnancies. I vomited twice in the span of all 3 pregnancies: once while in labor, and once when I had to have 12 hour fasting bloodwork done. And I felated my husband throughout each pregnancy. Coincidence? Perhaps. But he was appreciative.
Posted by catballou on July 10, 2012 at 5:32 PM · Report this
@2 blowjobs suppress the gag reflex. @21 semem should be ingested directly from the dispenser. The blowjobs have the added benefit of suppressing the gag reflex.
Posted by WestSeven on July 10, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
Catballou @27: There are lots of different ways to conduct scientific research. Although the experiment is the gold standard, simply because you can control all (or almost all) extraneous variables, there are other techniques that would do a great job in determining if this idea is possibly correct.

Of course you cannot randomly assign women to being inseminated by a man with familiar sperm (her partner) versus a man with unfamiliar sperm and then observe the resulting levels of pregnancy sickness.

But the article did lay out some testable hypotheses that could be verified or refuted. If this idea is correct, we would expect the following:

1. Couples who use condoms as a regular form of birth control, regardless of how long they have been together, should have higher incidences of pregnancy sickness than couples who do not use condoms.

2. Woman who have had multiple pregnancies with the same partner should have less pregnancy sickness in the later pregnancies than in the earlier ones.

3. Women who regularly swallow their partners semen would be less likely to have pregnancy sickness (although this one was proposed in the article, it would make sense based on the idea).

4. Women who undergo artificial insemination with donor sperm (unfamiliar sperm), or who conceive from stranger-rape should have worse pregnancy sickness than women who are pregnant from their regular partners.

All of these hypotheses are verifiable just by looking at historical data, or by conducting a survey study which would measure the levels of pregnancy sickness along with all of the other factors discussed above. You could then do a multivariate analysis to determine if these hypotheses support the overall theory.

I would be interested to see how this research pans out.
Posted by SherBee on July 10, 2012 at 6:04 PM · Report this
I took the statement as saying -- If the woman swallows instead of getting pregnant is the way to prevent morning sickness.
Posted by TNTruckDriver on July 10, 2012 at 6:05 PM · Report this
Even putting a toothbrush in my mouth made me spew in the morning. Acutally, I just spewed no matter what I did, so I can't imagine giving a first thing in the morning blowjob without spewing all over dh's cock.
Posted by LilyK on July 10, 2012 at 6:17 PM · Report this
It is a sound theory...based in fact that the more a women is exposed to the antibodies of her partner the more her body doesn't think of his antibodies as something to attack, the same reason people get allergy shots. It is the hormones and antibodies of the fetus that cause the morning sickness, not everyone gets it because of their body's reaction to the hormones and antibodies. Some women are allergic to their partner's semen and they are told to sallow to become less sensitive to the antibodies, or they can make allergy shots of the semen to do the same, but that is very costly.
Posted by syrenmom on July 10, 2012 at 6:22 PM · Report this
I am willing to sacrifice my semen for this experiment. If you or someone you know wants to swallow my semen in the interest of science, then I am all for it.
Posted by ducdriver on July 10, 2012 at 7:01 PM · Report this
There is also evidence that women who swallow their partner's semen are at lower risk of preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy); according to a study in the Journal of Reproductive Immunology: "Normal pregnancy is thought to be associated with a state of tolerance to the foreign antigens of the fetus, whereas in preeclamptic women this immunological tolerance might be hampered. The present study shows that oral sex and swallowing sperm is correlated with a diminished occurrence of preeclampsia which fits in the existing idea that a paternal factor is involved in the occurrence of preeclampsia."
Anecdotal evidence: I'm about to enter my third trimester and haven't had an inkling of morning sickness, nor any problems with high blood pressure. And yes, I swallow.
Posted by TN Mom to Be on July 10, 2012 at 7:59 PM · Report this
Preeclampsia is a disease of improper placentation and is thought to be due to a complex interaction between paternal and maternal genetics, as well as the inability of the placenta to form blood vessels deep enough into the muscular part of the uterus where the larger uterine vessels are present. If you are familiar with the Bernouli equation or any type of basic plumbing or electricity it is understood that as fetal demand for blood increases, flow has to increase, and if the blood vessels are not sufficiently large then to achieve the same amount of flow, the pressure in the system has to go up. Demand is low early on, that is why there are no early symptoms, but the condition can be detected with uterine artery Doppler measurements as early as 11 weeks of pregnancy. As the placental formation occurs in the very first weeks of pregnancy, and is already present at that stage when morning sickness is at its peak, this argues against a benefit of semen consumption. The reason the disease is not clinically evident until late in pregnancy is a that the placenta, which is the genetically unique organ which is the sole organ composed of the tissue of two idividuals, composed of both maternal and fetal tissue. The body must become immunologically "familiar" with the fetal and therefore mixed materal/paternal genetics and proteins. As protein is digested and broken down into small peptides in the GI tract it seems not especially plausible that ingesting semen will have a desirable effect on immunological tolerance. Additionally the disease will occur again if the next child does not have the same father, the risk for preeclampsia is increased. However, if the following pregancy occurs with the same male partner there is a dramatically reduced risk of preeclampsia, and is exceptionally uncommon. This seems more likely to be linked to the placenta becoming more "leaky" and allowing transfer of maternal and fetal proteins and blood in late pregnancy and during delivery, permitting immologic tolerance to develop. Also the body begins to recognize tissue as "self" as the mass of foreign tissue increases. Cancerous tumors for example often reach a stage as they become greater in size and number, where the cells are no longer seen as abnormal by the body. So the bigger a baby gets the more likely the body is to treat it as maternal tissue. Semen contains prostaglandins which increase gut motility and shut down gastric acid production. They also induce labor, which is why sex in late pregnancy (specifically vaginal intercourse) can often hasten the onset of labor. Reducing acid and increasing gut motility may help with heartburn and constipation in late pregnancy based on this physiological premise, but this would not aid in early pregnancy induced vomiting. Morning sickness is believed to be a result of a mild hyperthyroid state that is present in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy as the beta subunit of HCG stimulates the thyroid gland. This is essential, as the baby cannot make thyroid hormone in early pregancy and will not develop normally without the extra thyroid hormone in circulation which crosses the placental barrier and allows for organogenesis to progress. Semen does not affect thyroid function or HCG levels to the best of my knowledge. On what data is this idea founded?

Written by a female physician (internal medicine women's health) who has been there, done that, suffered severe preeclampsia with the first successful pregnancy, miscarried one first where I had no morning sickness, has read a lot of literature on this very subject, and has two kids by the same dad. Fascinating hypothesis, but I see no biological basis to support semen co symptom having a beneficial effect on morning sickness.
Posted by 00Doc on July 10, 2012 at 11:56 PM · Report this
"As protein is digested and broken down into small peptides in the GI tract it seems not especially plausible that ingesting semen will have a desirable effect on immunological tolerance."

Ingested antigens (such as swallowed semen proteins) are exposed to the Peyer's patches in the small intestine where they are able to modulate the immune system.
Posted by migrationist on July 11, 2012 at 2:01 AM · Report this
sissoucat 37
"Gallup’s evolutionary reinterpretation of pregnancy sickness is quite new—so new, in fact, that it hasn’t been put to a test"

That means that it's not a theory, it's a mere hypothesis, and it Gallup should not OK any publishing of it before putting it to the test. But probably he ran up into this journalist fan of him, and they had a beer, and voilà.

Oh, and getting one's name printed anywhere is very important for scientists. That's how they get paid, remember.

The other point of the article is valid, though : morning sickness has nothing to do with "Nature trying to protect the infant from harmful foods". Or there would be no FAS children, right ?
Posted by sissoucat on July 11, 2012 at 6:03 AM · Report this
Allyn 38
Anecdotes are not proof one way or the other, but let's consider Mrs. Duggar. She's had nineteen pregnancies, give or take one or two, from the same man, having never used a condom with him. She still gets morning sickness with each pregnancy.
Posted by Allyn on July 11, 2012 at 7:27 AM · Report this
Nature's paternity test. If the semen of the husband/partner won't stop morning sickness, try the milkman's. And the UPS guy's. And the pizza guy's.

There's an idea for a porn film in there somewhere. Debbie Doses Dallas.
Posted by Anastasia Beaverhausen on July 11, 2012 at 7:33 AM · Report this
@38, I'm guessing Michelle Duggar has never swallowed semen in her life, so perhaps she wouldn't be the best case study?
Posted by TN Mom to Be on July 11, 2012 at 9:37 AM · Report this
@36, yes I neglected to rember that the gut is n enormous part of the immune system and yes, I stand corrected. That is indeed an intriguing thought. Another thing that comes to mind is the micronutrients present in semen, perhaps the minerals and other elements may nurture the mother and therefore growing fetus.

I just can't help thinking of how nauseated I was during pregnancy and how sick just the idea of any activity made me feel in the first trimester. I also wonder if a males habits e.g. Smoking or a vegetarian diet, whether these influence the content or possible toxicity of semen is another study worth doing....
Posted by 00Doc on July 11, 2012 at 9:47 AM · Report this
@35, I don't understand your reasoning: "As the placental formation occurs in the very first weeks of pregnancy, and is already present at that stage when morning sickness is at its peak, this argues against a benefit of semen consumption." The study I cited is not suggesting that semen ingestion could cure, or even treat, preeclampsia, but may lead to lower rates. In other words, semen ingestion must occur prior to the index pregnancy in order to introduce paternal proteins prior to conception.
Here's the reference:
Carin A Koelman, Audrey B.C Coumans, Hans W Nijman, Ilias I.N Doxiadis, Gustaaf A Dekker, Frans H.J Claas, Correlation between oral sex and a low incidence of preeclampsia: a role for soluble HLA in seminal fluid?, Journal of Reproductive Immunology, Volume 46, Issue 2, March 2000, Pages 155-166, ISSN 0165-0378, 10.1016/S0165-0378(99)00062-5.
Posted by TN Mom to Be on July 11, 2012 at 9:54 AM · Report this
And the subtext of the last comment is that there is more to semen that is influenced by lifestyle. Therefore the benefit may vary depending upon the specific semen and the specific male. I definitely think this is a fascinating anthropological question, evolutionary question and medical biochemical question. It is worth a look. But to do it correctly it would need to be a double blind placebo controlled trial with detailed biochemical analysis of semen content. So sorry fellas, it would be neccessary to use shot glasses initially for the early studies. But the benefits and basic knowledge gained from that would be well worth the investment. At least that is my opinion...
Posted by 00Doc on July 11, 2012 at 9:58 AM · Report this
@momtobe @45 thank you! This is very interesting. I was responding to an additional comment suggesting ingestion of your partners semen may be protected from preeclampsia as well. I did get back to the morning sickness issue later in my comment. I appreciate the reference!
Posted by 00Doc on July 11, 2012 at 10:00 AM · Report this
I mean @35. Yes, it makes sense prior to the pregnancy in question, but that hyperthyroid state and morning sickness are independent. Preeclampsia does have a connection to maternal medical history, family history and also is related to migraine, heart disease and risk of hypertension and stroke. Current thinking is that it is a vascular reactivity issue, endothelial dysfunction. I do enjoy these discussions because they are fun, funny and scholarly. Thank you for sharing!!
Posted by 00Doc on July 11, 2012 at 10:10 AM · Report this
John Horstman 46
Wait, so what are the proposed antigens resulting from the embryo/fetus? Entire cells? Is there rapid cell death during these stages of embryonic development such that dead embryonic or fetal cells would be broken down by the woman's body to expose specific proteins that might be identified as non-self antigens? And which features of semen would produce those same antigens such that priming might cause the woman's body to recognize them as self antigens earlier? Do sperm cells express similar membrane binding sites as undifferentiated or differentiated embryonic or fetal cells?

I guess I could see a possible method of action here.
Posted by John Horstman on July 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM · Report this
for what it's worth... there is a fair amount of support for the view that morning sickness is a 'cultural' symptom of pregnancy - i.e. it's the accepted method of 'knowing that you're pregnant' within some cultures. in other cultures, there are other specific symptoms, and not nausea. i'm in a colonised country, with weird cultural layers.... the only nausea i had with my pregnancies stopped the day i did a pregnancy test. and the pregnancies without nausea did end in feotal death.
Posted by sappho on July 16, 2012 at 2:30 PM · Report this
I wish people would read the article in question. All of those of you saying you couldn't stand to swallow semen while pregnant: The blowjobs should be BEFORE the pregnancy. Semen isn't like cough syrup, to be swallowed while experiencing the symptoms. It's like a vaccination, acclimating your body to the foreign DNA *before* you're infected (ahem, pregnant).

[If, that is, this hypothesis is proven to be correct, of course. But still, read the article. Not just the headline...]

Also, frequent sex without a condom may be just as effective as frequent swallowing.
Posted by SilverChimera on July 18, 2012 at 4:30 PM · Report this
xjuan 49
The author makes clear that the delivery method is not only BJs but simply to get the DNA material into the pregnant's woman system. How it gets into her body doesn't really matter. I know is not a proven hypothesis, but we ought to admit is worth testing it.
Posted by xjuan on July 22, 2012 at 9:03 AM · Report this
That is the strangest morning sickness and pregnancy post I've ever read! Thanks
Posted by on August 19, 2012 at 7:29 PM · Report this
@ 39 YOU A HO
Posted by SuperFreak71 on March 22, 2013 at 5:51 PM · Report this

Add a comment


All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy