One of the most helpful tools when trying to conceive is learning exactly when you are the most fertile.

Whilst a viable egg can only be fertilized for around 24-48 hours, sperm can survive for days inside a woman’s body. Learning when you are most likely to conceive can prevent many of the common frustrations around trying to get pregnant. Most couples trying to conceive move through one or more of these three basic phases:

  1. “We’re having a baby!!!!”
    • We’re ready to get pregnant. Toss out the birth control and let’s see what happens…
  2. After a few periods…”Well that didn’t work, why aren’t I pregnant?”
    • Let’s start tracking my body temperature, charting and planning around my cycle…
  3. Yikes! The couple begins to become disheartened. Nothing seems to be working
    • The calendar watching and charting is in over drive, you are propping your legs up against the wall after sex, and perhaps you have “lost that loving feeling”. You start to look into the idea of assisted reproduction and IVF

If you’re trying to conceive, keep in mind that the “normal” period of time for most couples to conceive naturally is around 12 months. However for women over the age of 35, it is advised you discuss with a doctor after 6-months of trying with no luck. This is in order to allow time for investigations, referrals and treatment if needed.

When is my Most Fertile Time?

Most women have approximately a 28-day menstrual cycle. This cycle is counted from the first day of your period through to the day before your next period begins. For an accurate average, it is a good idea to track your cycle for 3-4 months. Many women have shorter or longer cycles, which shifts their “fertility window” by a few days or even weeks!

  1. Ovulation.

    The first step to figuring out your fertility window is knowing when you ovulate. Once you have tracked your cycle for a few months, count backwards 11 days from when you expect your next period to begin. Mark this date on your calendar. Then count backwards another six days and mark this date. This one week window (the ‘fertile’ window) is when you are likely to ovulate, and your highest chance for conception.

  2. Timing.

    Keep in mind that sperm can live in a woman’s body for five to six days! That means you and your partner should begin having sex several days before you anticipate ovulating. In order to maximize your chances of conception, Dr Stokes recommends having sex every other day (which means he should avoid ejaculation in between) during your fertile window. Having sex more regularly than once per day may reduce your chances and the highest chances of success is with intercourse one to two days prior to ovulation.

  3. Additional Signs.

    If you’ve already narrowed down your fertility window, you can use a little extra effort to pinpoint additional signs.

    1 – Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK).
    These kits are available at local pharmacies and are relatively accurate. They predict your ovulation based on the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. OPKs can predict ovulation within 12-36 hours. Follow the kits exact instructions for optimal results.
    2 – Discharge.
    During ovulation, your body secretes a different kind of discharge. It’s clear, slippery, and likened to the consistency of egg whites. It helps to form a web which guides sperm to the bull’s eye. When you notice this discharge, it’s a good sign that you are ovulating.
    3 – Physical Signs.
    By following their body’s physiological signs and cues, most women are able to figure out when they are most fertile, and can use this information to conceive. Remember that it takes a few months to really learn your cycle so remaining positive will make the process as enjoyable as it should be.

Coastal IVF has been helping couples on the Sunshine Coast have babies for 26 years. With over 60 years of combined experience specialising in infertility between Dr Paul Stokes, the Clinical Director and Peter Jackson, the Director of Embryology of Coastal IVF, you will be in good hands.


  • 07 5443 4301

  • Coastal IVF,
    Level 4,
    Esplanade and Second Avenue,
    (Sunshine Coast)
    QLD, Australia

Monday – Friday 8:00am – 4:00pm
Weekends Closed

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