What is well-timed or timed intercourse?
“Well-timed” intercourse means you are having sex around the time of ovulation, usually within one or two days of a positive ovulation test or spike in temperature while charting your basal body temperature (BBT).
In the same vein, timed Intercourse means having sex every other day around the time of ovulation. Your cycle can be monitored via ultrasound at the fertility clinic and could involve the use of fertility drugs.
Once you are nearing ovulation, timed intercourse can improve your chances of conception. Timed intercourse does not mean having sex every day. This can actually decrease your chances of conceiving if sperm does not have time to build up enough reserve.
A woman is fertile approximately five days prior to her ovulation each month until 24 hours after ovulation. The sperm and egg have a limited survival time during this 6 day period – ovulation window.
- Sperm has a lifespan of 5 days
- Eggs have a lifespan of 24 hours after ovulation
The ovulation window is when the chance of pregnancy is highest. If a woman has sexual intercourse five days before she ovulates, her probability of pregnancy is just about 10 percent. A recent study has shown that the chance of pregnancy following timed intercourse increases pregnancy rates between 14 and 23 percent.
The probability of pregnancy increases steadily until the two days before and including the day of ovulation. At the end of the ovulation window, the probability of pregnancy declines precipitously by 12 to 24 hours after ovulation. After this window, a woman is no longer able to get pregnant throughout the rest of that single cycle.
Ideal Sexual Frequency
The general consensus for years has been that during the seven to 14 days before ovulation, ejaculation every two to three days results in both good sperm production (sperm counts) and motility.
It is therefore recommended that couples have sex every other day around the suspected time of ovulation (mid-cycle) if couples are not monitoring a cycle with an ovulation predictor kit (OPK). If couples are using an OPK for monitoring the luteneizing hormone (LH) surge, or an hCG injection to induce ovulation, having intercourse on the day of ovulation (or just before) offers the highest chance of pregnancy.
It is also beneficial for the sperm if men have sex much more frequently in the days/weeks leading up to ovulation or in vitro fertilization (IVF). If you’re trying to achieve a pregnancy, you might want to increase your sexual frequency to get the best outcome.