Timing of conception

Ovulation is part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. It is when a mature egg is released from her ovary. The egg travels down the fallopian tube where it can be fertilised by a sperm.

Ovulation takes place about 14 days before the beginning of a woman’s period.

A woman is most fertile the day before and the day of ovulation. This is because the egg survives about 24 hours.

Sperm can survive in a woman’s body for several days. The whole fertile period is about 5 days before until about 2 days after ovulation. So the period that a woman is fertile is about 7 days.

There are different ways to estimate your fertile time. This can be done by taking your temperature (which increases at the beginning of ovulation), or recording when you have your periods, in order to work out when you are ovulating (called the calendar method). Chemists sell ovulatory kits that can help you work this out.

Your healthcare team can explain to you how to do this.

Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

PrEP is when a negative person takes antiretrovirals to protect them from HIV. PrEP is used occasionally to help make conception safer.

Last updated: 1 April 2019.