how often to have sex

How Often Should You Have Sex When Trying To Conceive

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To be honest, before trying to conceive, we didn’t even realise that there would be an optimum number of times to have sex.

TV and popular culture makes it seems simple.

If you’re trying to have a baby, have sex as much as possible! Oh how wrong that is.

For those that want to be a little more scientific then focus on ovulation.

Jo and I are now into our 6th month of trying to conceive and that has meant we’ve done a little more research than we should. It turns out, doing it as much as possible isn’t the best way to go.

There are a litany of factors that determine how often you should be doing the baby dance.

We’ve put together a list of answers to popular questions, click on the questions to see the answer:


How Long Should You Keep Sperm Inside To Get Pregnant?

legs in the air

The benchmark here seems to be around 10-15 minutes. This should give the sperm plenty of time to go through the cervix. From there, they can then fertilise the egg.

There are some people on Mums Net and other forums that seem to be sticking their legs in the air for half an hour at a time. This isn’t necessary. We know the feeling, you are worried if even the smallest number leak out.

10-15 minutes with your legs in the air should be more than enough time. Although, there are some studies that have suggested that lying on your back might actually reduce your chance. While the source is the Sun, the results are backed by a study. In the study, 40% of those who were active after sex fell pregnant. This compared to 32% of those who were immobile.

There are also a number of sex positions that can improve both penetration and mean that gravity doesn’t do its worse. We put together a list of 29 sex positions here.

Can You Still Get Pregnant If The Sperm Comes Out?

The short answer to this question is yes. Your chance of conceiving is very unlikely to be impacted by any ‘lost’ sperm following intercourse.

While it can seem like millions and millions of the sperm are leaking out, you need not worry. Millions are still able to make it into the cervix and fertilise the egg.

It can seem like those ‘lost’ sperm are the reason that you are failing to conceive. You’re looking for a reason that you’ve not conceived and losing sperm seems like a logical reason.

Moreover, just 5% of the ejaculate is actually sperm.

While it can seem that a lot of sperm are leaking out, 95% of that leakage isn’t sperm. A bit of leakage can actually be a good sign. The leakage often means that there are an ample number of sperm in the ejaculate.

The general consensus seems to be that choosing positions that allow for the sperm to stay in and putting your legs/hips in a tilted position after sex is a good idea to help your chances. However, it is unlikely to be the reason that you’ve failed to conceive to date.

How Much Sperm Is Required To Get Pregnant?

It takes just a single sperm to get fertilise the egg. However, millions and millions are lost in the journey to the egg. As a result, the average man will release over 100 million sperm during each ejaculation, to give the chance of conception. There is no single number to aim for. The higher the sperm count, the greater the chance of conception.

WebMD have put together a great resource that runs through every single question you could have about your sperm. It is worth checking out.

The annoying answer that is often given, and written above, is that it takes just a single sperm to conceive. The reality is that a single sperm would have no chance of navigating its way to the egg. Trying to conceive is a numbers game.

The ejaculate contains an average of over 100 million sperm. Which to me, makes it even more unfathomable that Jo isn’t popping out hundreds of babies. (This even led to me getting tested for my fertility).

Sperm’s lifespan completely varies depends on their environment. On a dry surface, the sperm will be dead by the time they’re dry. In a woman, the sperm can live for up to 5 days. This means that in the run-up to ovulation, the more sperm you can have in the game then the greater the chance of conception.

How Likely Is It To Get Pregnant During Ovulation?

The chance of conception is up to 33% if sperm are already waiting in the Fallopian tubes during ovulation. In the days leading up to ovulation, the chance of conception ranges from 10% five days before up to 33% on the day of ovulation.

  • 5 Days Before: 10%
  • 4 Days Before: 16%
  • 3 Days Before: 14%
  • 2 Days Before: 27%
  • 1 Day Before: 31%
  • Ovulation Day: 33%

best time for conception

We also put together another resource about the fertile window and ovulation, if you’d like to learn more.

How Many Days Out Of The Month Can You Get Pregnant?

There are just 6 days in each month when you can conceive (assuming a normal cycle). These are the 5 days in the run-up to ovulation and the day of ovulation. This is a combination of the lifespan of the sperm in the woman (5 days) and the lifespan of the ovum (12-24 hours).

This was probably the biggest shock to us.

There was always a thought that ‘natural contraception’ was very risky. Each month those choosing the ‘natural contraception’ route were taking a massive chance. It turns out, they probably weren’t, assuming that the cycle remains consistent.

For every story of an accidental pregnancy, there are probably hundreds of those that have used ‘natural contraception’ successfully for years.

Is Having Sex Every Day Bad When Trying To Conceive?

sex everyday

While this does depend on your sperm count, the short answer to this question is yes. Having sex every day can negatively impact on your chance of getting pregnant in a number of ways.

Firstly, the sperm might not be replenished. Having sex too often can mean that the man’s supplies aren’t fully stocked when you do the baby dance. As mentioned in the previous sections, if you don’t have enough sperm to play with then your chance of conceiving is greatly reduced.

However, if the man’s count is high, then having sex every day during ovulation can improve your chances.

Secondly, you’re setting an unsustainable pace. While in the first month or two of trying, having sex like rabbits can seem like a lot of fun. If you’re doing it every day, it’ll be exhausting. Come month three, four or more, you will be seriously struggling.

We’re into month 6 and set ourselves a pace that was soon scaled back.

It really is a good idea to start as you mean to go on.

How Long For Sperm Stocks To Restore?

Sperm stocks will take between 24-36 hours to replenish about sexual intercourse. However, this is the normal figure and it will differ from person to person. For the stocks to be completely full, it’ll take 3-5 days.

Those that suffer from a low sperm count should leave longer between their attempts. It is recommended to have sex every 2-3 days.

New sperm are being generated constantly. Even if you have another try 30 minutes later, there will be new sperm ready to go.

Minimum Number Of Days During Which You Can Get Pregnant?

There are 6 days each month during which having sex can result in pregnancy but just a 24 hour period during which the ovum will can be fertilised.

The 6 day figure is due to the fact that sperm can survive for up to 5 days in the female body.

Although, as highlighted by the earlier graphic, the closer to ovulation you have sex then the greater your likelihood of falling pregnant.

…and thanks for stopping by. I thought I would introduce us; myself (Jo) and my boyfriend Chris. We’ll both be uploading our innermost thoughts and musings over the next phase of our lives which we hope is a very happy one. Welcome to our world x

2 thoughts on “How Often Should You Have Sex When Trying To Conceive”

  1. Pingback: Improving Fertility With Your Diet (Remove Your Conception Roadblocks!!)

  2. Pingback: Week 9 of The Pregnancy Diaries - One Plus One and Beyond

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