Ovulation and Fertility Explained

ovulation and fertility 101

This 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.

Try the Genea 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.

Posted: 21/04/2015 9:23:01 AM by | with 8 comments
Filed under: cycle, Female Fertility, Information, Ovulation, Questions

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 the right decisions for you.

Contact a Fertility Advisor today

Genea Team
Hi Louisa,

The conditions for a true period to occur (full bleed, not spotting) require a rise and fall in hormone levels which happens with the progression of ovulation. Ovulation usually results in the release of one (or more) eggs. There are of course rare exceptions to this.

For the vast majority of women, ovulation occurs 14 days prior to the first day of a period. Cycles which are longer or shorter than the ‘text book’ 28 days, will most likely have a longer/shorter time to reach ovulation as studies have shown the time post-ovulation (luteal phase) to be common across the female population. So tracking your cycle and using the average length to time intercourse just prior to ovulation is usually quite effective in achieving a pregnancy in the absence of infertility factors. Of course, we are all individuals and there may be circumstances where a woman’s cycle does not follow the expected course, they may not release any eggs or other infertility factors are present - this may be evidenced by symptoms including irregular cycles or a failure to conceive after 6-12 months using timed intercourse. In these cases, further investigation by a Doctor specialising in fertility is recommended.

Kind regards,
5/09/2016 11:12:13 AM

"If you have a period you ovulate".
This is not strictly true is it?
If you bleed, you haven't necessarily released an egg. Please clarify.
1/09/2016 9:17:37 PM

Yash IVF
Interesting Information.. Thanks for sharing.
28/12/2015 5:21:34 PM

Yes it does help thanx but we are have to do icsi so there is no risk of multiple pregnancies in our situation but I thought maybe that the stimulation of intercourse might help with things or help to convince my body that the conception was like a normal one. Or might help in some way but I guess not! XD
17/09/2015 8:29:58 PM

Genea Team
Hi Margie,

The recommendation is to avoid unprotected intercourse during stimulation as multiple follicles are growing and therefore there is a risk of multiple pregnancy if you were to ovulate through the medications. There is no physical risk, it’s just about avoiding pregnancy so protected is okay.

After egg retrieval we advise to wait 7 days as there is a risk of infection after the surgical procedure. After that no problems.

Hopefully that helps answer your question however please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.
17/09/2015 5:18:25 PM

Hi, is there any benefit to having intercourse while ondergoing IVF treatment? Obvs not directly after egg retrieval but before or when I feel comfortable after? Its hard to get in to the mood but if it will help it would be goo to knwo.
17/09/2015 3:19:22 PM

This is a fairly common question, and ultimately it all depends on how unpredictable your cycles are. Our calculator is good for relatively similar cycles, however, is there much of a difference in length between your most recent cycles? If it’s say a few days or a week, then you could calculate your expected ovulation based on your shortest cycle and time intercourse around this date, extending through for a few extra days to give you the best chance of conception if it ends up being a longer cycle. If your cycles are completely unpredictable though, you may want to see your GP as a first step – they can run some tests and/or refer you to a Fertility Specialist for more detailed investigations and advice.

Alternatively if you would like to ask a GP who focusses purely on fertility, why not ask Dr Christina, our Fertility GP.
22/04/2015 11:13:03 AM

Hi wendy, my ovulation is random, do you have any advice on what i should do?? should i focus on having sex everyday? tyi
21/04/2015 4:40:44 PM

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