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Can You Conceive During Ovulation?

Can You Conceive During Ovulation?


You must ovulate to conceive.

The average, healthy couple between the ages of 29-33 only has about a 25% chance of conceiving a child during any given month, even if both members of the couple have perfectly normal reproductive systems. Because of the nature of ovulation, the window during which a woman is capable of conceiving a child is relatively narrow– really only up to a week long.

Conception and Ovulation

Can you conceive during ovulation? Ovulation is actually required for conception. Ovulation is the time during which your body releases a mature egg cell from an ovary. If you have a regular hormonal cycle, this typically occurs between two to three weeks before you last menstruated, or about two weeks from when you expect your next period to begin. An egg cell is only good for up to a day after release, which means that there must be live sperm there during that time or fertilization cannot take place.

Why Predict Ovulation?

Since eggs are only released during ovulation and die quickly afterward, knowing when you have one ready is important to increase your chances of conception. Ovulation produces certain changes in your body, so some women use these to help them predict the best time to try to get pregnant. These include changes in your body temperature, changes in the quantity and consistency of your vaginal discharge, and changes in the mineral content of your saliva. Because your eggs’ short lifespan gives you such a narrow window in which to conceive, there are also commercial kits available that will help you determine exactly when ovulation takes place based on the amount of luteinizing hormone released in your urine during each day of your cycle.

Ovulation vs. Your “Fertile Period”

Sperm cells are a bit longer-lived than egg cells– between three to five days after they are released into a woman’s vagina, versus up to a single day for an egg. That means that you are capable of being impregnated even if you had sex a few days before ovulation actually begins. Therefore, even though eggs die quickly after ovulation, you are considered fertile for five days to a week out of every month. Doctors recommend that women have intercourse at least once a day for a few days leading up to ovulation, and a day or two afterward. This will dramatically increase the odds that there are live sperm around to join with the newly released egg.


Resources: 7/2/2013


National Infertility Association
Fast Facts about Fertility

American Pregnancy Association
Ovulation Frequently Asked Questions

Mayo Clinic
How to Get Pregnant

American Pregnancy Association
Understanding Ovulation


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