Having sex to get pregnant

To get pregnant, we all know that a man's sperm must meet a woman's egg. For 95% of healthy people under 35 years old, this is a relatively easy process and pregnancy can usually result within one year of unprotected sex. For other couples, having sex to get pregnant may not be as easy as they thought, and they may need help through fertility treatments to have a baby.

The advances in fertility treatments are helping many couples conceive, but you should remember that many of these treatments require you to have sex to get pregnant. And the timing of the sex is important - the greatest chance of becoming pregnant occurs when you have sex during the most fertile time of a woman's menstrual cycle, which is during ovulation (when an egg is released from a woman's ovary).

An egg lives for only about 24 hours after it is released, so it is important to have sex during ovulation and the time around ovulation. Many couples have difficulty becoming pregnant because they are not having enough regular sex when the woman is ovulating. Having sex when the woman most fertile can help a couple's chances of becoming pregnant.

The most fertile time for a woman starts about 2 days before the ovulation day and ends about 2 days after the ovulation day. Figure out your most fertile time by keeping track of the average length of your menstrual cycle for a few months. The length of your menstrual cycle is the number of days from the first day of one period to the day before the next period begins.

To predict your ovulation day, count back 14 days from the start of your period. Since each woman is unique and may not have regular cycle lengths, it can be difficult to know the exact day of ovulation. The ovulation day you calculate is the day that ovulation will most likely occur, plus or minus 2 days. So, the most fertile time and the time to have sex is 2 days before the ovulation day and up to 2 days after this day.

This method can give you an idea of when ovulation occurs so that you know when to have sex.

During this fertile time, have sex every other day. Healthy sperm can live up to 5 days in a woman's reproductive tract, so having sex daily is not necessary. In fact, having sex too often can reduce a man's sperm count.

The most important action you can take while trying to get pregnant is to have sex regularly, especially around the time of ovulation. And remember to continue having sex even during non-ovulation times so that your sex life remains healthy and doesn't become mechanical or a scheduled "chore."

For more information on fertility clinics in your area, use our clinic locator.

What sex life?

For couples who are trying to conceive, sex can become a mechanical process. One of the challenges couples face is the loss of spontaneity and romance when it comes to having sex while they are trying to have a baby. Fertility treatment can also change a couple's sex life.

When trying to have a baby, sex becomes a task necessary for conception. This "conception sex" can involve scheduled sex and specific sexual positions that are believed to improve the chances of getting pregnant. For many couples, these factors can make sex feel like a chore.

A couple who has been trying to conceive for some time may forget that sex can be intimate and that there is a difference between sex for pleasure and sex for conception. Couples need to recognize that the ability to conceive does not define their sexuality.

Feelings of intimacy and privacy can be lost once a couple undergoes fertility treatment. These issues often come up when discussing personal details of their sex life with their doctor, or when undergoing tests such as a semen analysis (to measure sperm counts) or the post-coital test (to assess the interaction between the sperm and the cervical mucus). Keeping a sense of humour can go a long way to help ease the frustrations and challenges you may be going through.

A couple's sex life doesn't have to suffer and become unromantic when they are trying to conceive. Communicate with your partner about your sexual desires and needs. Continue having spontaneous sex during the rest of the month, as if you weren't trying to have sex to conceive a baby. Couples who communicate and stay physically and emotionally connected can continue to have a healthy sex life.

Your doctor or fertility specialist can answer any concerns you may have about fertility and your sex life. Though it may be uncomfortable to talk to your fertility specialist about it, they are trained experts who can help with some of the challenges that couples may face while going through fertility treatment.

For more information on fertility clinics in your area, use our clinic locator.

Communicating with your partner

In romantic relationships, communication is vital to maintaining satisfaction and success. When trying to accomplish a particular goal in that relationship, such as producing a baby, communication is even more important. Keeping in touch with your partner on an emotional level through nonsexual and sexual communication becomes paramount when you are trying to conceive.

Nonsexual communication is listening and speaking to your partner about your needs, thoughts, and feelings. Sexual communication is listening and speaking to your partner about your sexual needs, thoughts, and feelings. It is important to maintain a high level of both forms of communication with your partner.

When fertility problems occur in a relationship, it can be really easy to retreat and close yourself off to your partner. This is particularly likely to happen if one partner feels they are to blame for the problems with conception. It will take a lot of work to stay open with each other emotionally and sexually, but doing so will keep your relationship intact through the tough time you're both experiencing.

Most likely the scariest communication tactic of all is asking for what we want. The partner with whom you are trying to conceive with should know what you want, so as difficult as it may be, you'll need to communicate that with them. The only way to get what you want is to ask for it, and the best way to become a better lover to your partner is to ask them what it is they want and go from there.

In trying to become more open with communication about sex, there is an activity you and your partner can try:

  • Make a list of all of the sexual activities that anyone, not just you, would potentially participate in and write them down.
  • Collaborate with each other on making the list as complete as you can.
  • Make two copies of the list and each of you write "yes," "no," or "maybe" beside each of the activities that you have both listed, indicating what you would be willing to try and what is out of the question.
  • Then compare your list and you may be surprised at the similarities or differences in your preferences.

This activity will help you open up and get more comfortable to talk to your partner about your sexual relationship, and it will hopefully spice up your sex life in the process.

Open and honest communication can help you get through any problem. Overcoming the communication barriers with your partner, especially if you have been trying to conceive for some time, may be hard work. However, if you continue to communicate openly with your partner, keep your core relationship strong, and focus on keeping your sexual life healthy through the fertility process, your sex life will be unharmed from the process, regardless of the outcome of your fertility treatment.

For more information on fertility clinics in your area, use our clinic locator.

Keeping the romance alive

Although communication is very important while trying to conceive a baby, it doesn't exactly scream romance. A variety of factors, both physical and psychological, will impact the level of romance that your relationship has when trying to conceive. If you've been trying to conceive for a while, you may have lost a lot of the excitement that used to come with sex.

It is really important to think back to what sex was like before baby-making was on your mind. When did you do it? How often? At what time of the day? Think about how much you enjoyed those times and try to get yourself back there.

For some couples, sexual love becomes compromised in the process of making a family. In order to avoid this and continue to feel fireworks when you get under the sheets with your partner, don't constrain sex to the fertile stage of the woman's cycle. If you continuously have sex just for reproduction, you may begin to build an unhealthy association with sex as a mechanical chore, which can be stressful for couples trying to get pregnant.

Another common cycle that reproduction-focused couples fall into is going straight for the finale without spending time on foreplay. Remember when your relationship first began, before baby-making was on your mind, and you would spend so much time just exploring each other's bodies? Well, go back to that.

Include foreplay in your sexual regime in order to avoid letting sex become simply a means to an end. Enjoy the process and enjoy being close to one another by remembering that you used to have sex for pleasure.

In order to keep your sex life thriving, it is important to focus on pleasure. Just because the mission is to get the sperm to the egg doesn't mean the experience can't be orgasmic and pleasurable for both members of the partnership.

Avoid skipping everything that would usually come before intercourse and going straight for the finale. Although it may be tempting to "get it over with," this is not romantic and will not keep your partner begging for more.

One way to bring back the romance and to incorporate foreplay into your baby-making routine is to communicate with your partner. Let your partner know how you feel and what you want.

Make sure you don't forget about the time when sex was about making love to your partner and not just about making a baby. If you keep this in mind throughout the baby-making process and you try to get back to that place, you'll be much better off in keeping the passion alive in your relationship while trying to expand your family.

For more information on fertility clinics in your area, use our clinic locator.