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Ovulation and Fertility Explained

Genea blog ovulation fertility explainedThis week, Wendy runs through a 101 on ovulation. Everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask, or just not sure about. Wendy will also be available to answer any other questions you have on each of the topics. Just submit your query in the comment box at the bottom of the blog.

How do I know if I ovulate? And when do I ovulate?

If you get periods, then you ovulate. The first day of full bleeding (not scant brown spotting, but full fresh red flow) is the first day of your cycle, or Day 1. Ovulation occurs around 14 days prior to a period regardless of the total length of a woman’s cycle – this is because the hormonal changes that occur following ovulation prompt the next phase of your cycle (the luteal phase) and this is known to be fairly constant across the population.

To calculate approximately when ovulation occurs, take the length of your cycle and subtract 14 days. So if you have a 28 day cycle, you ovulate around Day 14 (28 minus  14). If you have a 35 day cycle, you ovulate around Day 21 (35 minus 14). If you would like to know exactly how many days your cycle is and when you are most probably ovulating, why not use our ovulation calculator.

Trying to conceive?

If you are trying to conceive in any given month, you should also know that sperm have a total lifespan in the female reproductive tract of around 72 hours. This seems a lot but they have quite a distance to travel to reach the egg. It is also worth noting that after ovulation an egg is receptive to sperm for only 12-24 hours.

Once you have determined when you are likely to ovulate next, aim to have sex regularly (some of our Fertility Specialists recommend every second day) at least four days prior to ovulation, until two days post-ovulation to increase your chances of falling pregnant that month. Or more often if you want to! Aim to have more sex in the days prior to ovulation, so the sperm is ‘waiting for the egg’.

So if you have a 28 day cycle (ovulating around Day 14), try to have sex on Days 10, 12, 14 and 16 or as much as possible but particularly between Days 10-16.

If you have a 35 day cycle (ovulating around Day 21), try to have sex on Days 17, 19, 21, and 23, or as much as possible but particularly between Days 17-23.

While there are numerous methods for taking your temperature and testing your saliva to check whether you are ovulating, our Fertility Specialists generally recommend simply having regular sex around the time of expected ovulation.

If you still have questions, but do not think you need to see a Fertility Specialist, why not ask our Fertility Advisors. They are here to answer your questions and help you gather the information you need to make the right decisions for you.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is a Genea Group blog and as such information may not be relevant for all clinics. We advise that you consult clinics directly for further information