Ovulation Timing for Pregnancy

When is the best time to have sex to conceive?

In the last several years, many companies have become exceedingly rich selling various tests for ovulation prediction. One device sells for over $200 dollars!

The fact of the matter is that most women probably don’t need ovulation kits. If your menstrual cycles are fairly regular, lets say you get a period in the range of 26 to 32 days, then having intercourse at specified times will produce just as many pregnancies as using an ovulation predictor test would.

The fallacy is that you must have intercourse on the day of ovulation in order to become pregnant. Nothing could be further from the truth. After intercourse, sperm can live for several days in the female reproductive tract. Studies show there is no significant difference in your chance for pregnancy whether you have intercourse on the day of ovulation or 1 to 2 days before ovulation.

Timing of Intercourse

However, the eggs (oocytes) don’t remain viable for very long. Intercourse that occurs just one day after ovulation is associated with a very low chance for pregnancy.

In order to maximize your chance for pregnancy, subtract 14 days from your shortest cycle (for example, if your shortest cycle is 26 days, subtract 14 to get 12). This will likely be the earliest you ovulate. Start having intercourse a five days before and repeat every other day a couple of times.

It is okay to have intercourse every day if you wish but the pregnancy rates will not be any better than they would be if you had intercourse every other day and it can get stressful for some couples. Every other day if fine or even every third day.

Other methods that couples have used to attempt pregnancy is paying attention to the woman’s cervical secretions (mucous). This is based on the fact that as an egg is maturing in the ovary, the cells surrounding that egg will produce estrogen. As she gets closer to ovulation, the estrogen levels get higher. Estrogen will change the cervical mucous so that it becomes clearer and less thick and sticky. It will not tell you the precise time of ovulation however.

Many couples believe that looking at a woman’s temperature will predict ovulation. This is wrong. A woman’s temperature will only go up after ovulation. It will only tell you that ovulation occurred after the fact. This will not help increase your chances for pregnancy.