How to calculate the best time to conceive

Written by stephen byron cooper Google
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How to calculate the best time to conceive
Some people just get lucky. (Dynamic Graphics/Creatas/Getty Images)

As with many things in life, some women find it easier to conceive than others. Everyone’s body is slightly different; however, every baby starts with the same basic ingredients: an ovum and a sperm. If these two elements are not introduced together, you won't have a baby. The ovum is the rarer of these two contributions, and so focus on its availability in order to ensure conception. A prospective mother needs to be familiar with her menstrual cycle in order to accurately calculate the best time to conceive.

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Sperm can survive for two or three days, so it isn’t necessary to time sex right down to the day of ovulation. An ovum, however, is only active for 24 hours after ovulation. This means that being prepared is of the essence. Accurately predict your ovulation date to increase your chances of conceiving a baby.


The average women’s menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. Ovulation usually occurs on the 14th day after your last period ended. However, it could be a few days earlier or later. Many healthcare workers state that the average woman is fertile for four to five days a month. This is not strictly true. In fact, we know that ovum is only useful for one full day, so the four to five days to which many experts refer is actually the variation in ovulation dates among a population of women. Some women ovulate 11 days into their cycle, others as late as 16.

Predictor kits

Ovulation predictor kits detect the level of luteinizing hormone (LH). Ovulation is always preceded by a sudden increase in this hormone, usually 12 to 36 hours before. However, this can give false hope because some women experience rises in LH even when ovulation is not imminent.

Know yourself

The inability to find advice on the exact date of ovulation can be frustrating for many women who want a certain shot at conceiving. As every woman is different, the person who has the best chance of telling you when you are ovulating is you. Mark off the days you have your period. After a few months, you'll see a pattern. This will tell you how close your own cycle is to that of the “average woman” the advice is aimed at. If your cycle is longer than 28 days, you probably ovulate a little later than the 14th day. If it's shorter, you will ovulate a little earlier. Bear in mind, the best time to conceive begins two days before your ovulation date and expires one day after.

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