Want to get pregnant? Timing is key

The most important thing to remember when trying to conceive, is that there are only ever 6 days in a woman’s cycle that sex can result in pregnancy, the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation (Extensive reading: Ovulation: The What, Why and How). This is because sperm can only survive for a maximum of 6 days in the female body, and once the new egg (or ovum) is released it has a maximum lifespan of 24 hours.

With this in mind, the most important thing to try and pinpoint is ovulation so that you can time sex before, and on the day of ovulation. Which is easier said than done! 

Pinpointing ovulation and the fertile window 

While it’s important to pinpoint ovulation each cycle, it’s also pretty difficult as it’s only really possible to confirm ovulation once it’s already happened. Which doesn’t really give you a good run-up on having sex on the 5 days beforehand, if you see what we mean?!

For this reason, we focus on helping you identify the Fertile Window, which is what we call the 6 days where pregnancy is possible. There are a number of ways in which we can identify the fertile window and therefore have a better idea of when you typically ovulate. Tracking your cycles, your basal body temperature, cervical mucus and luteinizing hormone levels will all help you identify your fertile window and therefore also ovulation. 

Timing sex within the fertile window.

The best way to think about timing sex in the fertile window, is to think of it as trying to ensure that there is sperm waiting in your fallopian tubes and uterus when the ovum is released. 

Sperm travel through the vagina into the cervix and casually hang around in the fallopian tubes and uterus until the egg is released. The maximum lifespan of sperm is 6 days, and in most cases sperm doesn’t survive this long. So having sex 5 days before ovulation and on the day of ovulation is the best way to ensure there are plenty ready when the ovum is released. Having sex 2 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation result in pregnancy more often than having sex earlier in the fertile window.

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