Let's make it your year...
Starting your journey to parenthood can be exciting but also challenging if you find it doesn’t happen as quickly as you’d hoped.
You indicated that you were seeing a fertility specialist which means you have already taken a positive step towards making this your year.
Having a good understanding of your reproductive system, menstrual cycle and when you are most fertile is important for giving yourself the best chance of conceiving. First line treatments such as Clomiphene (Clomid) and intra-uterine insemination are often performed in conjunction with timed intercourse or your natural cycle.
When are you most fertile?
It is a common misconception that the day of ovulation is the only day you should have intercourse to conceive. The most fertile days in your cycle are actually the days leading up to ovulation before the egg is released from the ovary; this is called your fertile window.
To calculate your fertile window
- Keep track of the dates of your recent menstrual periods. You need to know the length of your cycle, which can vary from 23 – 35 days, so you can determine what day you ovulate.
- Your cycle length is the number of days between the first day of bleeding of one period, and the first day of bleeding of your next period.
- You will usually ovulate 14 days before the first day of your next period. So subtract 14 days from the date of your next period to determine the approximate day you will ovulate.
- The 5 days leading up to this date is your fertile window.
When and how often should you be having sex?
We recommend having sex every two to three days during your fertile window to give you the best chance of conception.
This is because after ovulation the egg survives for just 24 hours while sperm retain fertilising capabilities for two to three days in the fallopian tubes. This way the sperm are ready and waiting when you ovulate.
If you wait until you have ovulated before you have sex you may have missed your opportunity for conception that month. There is evidence to suggest that your chances of conceiving when you have sex after ovulation, rather than before, is as low as 5%.
How useful are at-home ovulation kits?
If you have irregular periods or your cycle length varies from month to month it may be difficult to calculate your ovulation date.
In this case ovulation urine tests may be useful to detect increases in estrogen and LH hormones associated with ovulation which can be purchased at your local pharmacy.
Another option is to use bulk billed ovulation cycle tracking, at a fertility clinic, which uses a combination of blood tests and ultrasounds to give you a more comprehensive overview of your cycle.
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Need a fertility friend?
Webinar with a Fertility Specialist