Infertility posts, TTC/TTC Technology Posts

When is the best time to have sex to conceive?

If you’ve read any of my site you‘re already a very Clever C(nt), you have been tracking your cycles for a few months so know when you are due roughly to ovulate (or whether you need more help identifying this), and you also already know the most fertile time in your cycle is during the 3-6 days before you ovulate and this is the time when you need to just do it-a lot. I mean, go to town on each other (so long as that stuff goes up you) as much as you can.

Parrots, Exotic, Ara, Animal, Birds, Love, Couple
Love is in the air….

So far so good. However, identifying those 6 days is the hard part for most of us even when we have been tracking our cycles, especially as the outdated advice given is to have sex mid way through your cycle like some robot woman with ovaries that run with Swiss Clockwork precision, or to ‘do it’ every other day from after your period ends to just before your period begins.

Butterfly, Macro, Insects, Nature, Couple, Flower
‘Let’s gedddit ooooowwwn…’

Not only is this often just not humanly possible for most of us (I said most of us, all you newly weds and high sex drive people aside – respect to you however) it also heavily kills the buzz for most couples. My hubby and I used to find it vaguely exciting to bonk as much as we could over 3-4 days but then, like camels setting out on a cross Sahara journey, we would spend the rest of the month snuggling together like best friends with boundary issues (don’t judge us…4 pregnancies in 6 months – we got GOOD at it).

Ladybugs, Ladybirds, Bugs, Insects, Couple, Love, Two

The results of a 2001 study determining the effectiveness of timing sex during your fertile window (you can find more details of this study further down the blog ) claimed that ‘In only about 30% of women is the fertile window entirely within the days of the menstrual cycle identified by clinical guidelines—that is, between days 10 and 17. Most women reach their fertile window earlier and others much later. Women should be advised that the timing of their fertile window can be highly unpredictable, even if their cycles are usually regular.

2001. Great to see they were listened to.

Regular as Clockwork

If your cycles are regular and you have been tracking your cycles (again, not a 100% surity that you ovulated but a good indication) and know you generally ovulate on CDs14-16, you’re all set to start gettin’ it on barring any ‘out of control’ delayed ovulation (watch those anti-inflammatories). You can obviously also use your BBT to identify when your temps rise and stop sex after your cross hairs appear as well if you want that extra confirmation that you’re hitting the sweet spot. Remember, you are aiming for a few days before and during ovulation and every day if possible (hey, more if it’s a weekend) until after you have ovulated just to be sure.

A bit on the wonk

Many of us however are NOT regular, and need a little help to avoid burning out or, worse, burning the men out (there is nothing worse than getting confirmation that you are about to ovulate and your man is just ‘too tired tonight baby’. Slacker. No I am kidding, it’s hard for them too, but you need to keep him fresh as well. So if you’re irregular or you both have a low libido and realistically once or twice is enough, you need to really nail things down.

One way to identify this window with pretty good accuracy is to use some AWESOME technology. I won’t lie, most of it is expensive but it works. I have done a guide here but to paraphrase, the ones I recommend are Ovusense for people with PCOS or long cycles, Ava and Tempdrop for those with 26-36 day ‘standard’ cycles and Clearblue Bluetooth Ovulation sticks for those who have vaguely regular cycles under 38 days long but don’t have the budget for the others.

Moe, Woman Girl, Manga, Anime, Cartoon, Cute

A few of you may be asking for the science behind the ‘fertile window’ and why I fixated on it so much (I admit mostly it’s because I am lazy and impatient) but I had a quiet afternoon so did some digging on the internet and found a few super studies which I have attached links to below.

Studies on sex during the fertile window

The first was a study determining the timing of sex in the fertile window in 2001 which I quoted above entitled: The timing of the “fertile window” in the menstrual cycle: day specific estimates from a prospective study

It looked at 221 healthy women (anyone with known issues was removed) and found some interesting stuff that is very worth a read, but what I carried away was that they claimed ‘The timing of the fertile window is highly variable, even among women who regard their menstrual cycles as regular’. This could mean that even if you THINK you have ovulated, unless you have access to an ultrasound machine/technition or have 7 and 21 day blood tests (not likely) you can’t guarentee you have released an egg. But you will have a pretty good idea.

‘The fertile window occurred during a broad range of days in the menstrual cycle. On every day between days 6 and 21, women had at minimum a 10% probability of being in their fertile window. Women cannot predict a sporadic late ovulation; 4-6% of women whose cycles had not yet resumed were potentially fertile in the fifth week of their cycle.’

Another off shoot of this same study (so same 221 women and same 625 cycles and 192 pregnancies recorded) that I found interesting was entitled : Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation. Effects on the probability of conception, survival of the pregnancy, and sex of the baby.

Moe, Woman Girl, Manga, Anime, Cartoon, Cute

This concluded that ‘Conception occurred only when intercourse took place during a six-day period that ended on the estimated day of ovulation. The probability of conception ranged from 0.10 when intercourse occurred five days before ovulation to 0.33 when it occurred on the day of ovulation itself. …. Among healthy women trying to conceive, nearly all pregnancies can be attributed to intercourse during a six-day period ending on the day of ovulation. For practical purposes, the timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation has no influence on the sex of the baby.’ Proof that you need to get going as much as you can in that small window.

I liked this one on mucus observations as an offshoot as well by the way. Love me the stretchy mucus test : Mucus observations in the fertile window: a better predictor of conception than timing of intercourse I do love me some mucus tracking.

It concluded that ‘Changes in mucus quality across the fertile interval predict the observed pattern in the day-specific probabilities of conception. To maximize the likelihood of conception, intercourse should occur on days with optimal mucus quality, as observed in vaginal discharge, regardless of the exact timing relative to ovulation.’ So look out for that clear, watery or egg white type mucus and go go go until it disappears as an added bonus.

If you are still interested please do go on to read the following as well for more information:

https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/14/7/1835/2913179

https://www.k4health.org/toolkits/sdm/scientific-basis-sdm

As ever, thanks for reading and good luck. I won’t send you baby dust as yurck but, you know, (whispers) baby dust.

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