How often should you have sex when trying to get pregnant?

5 min
Updated Oct 31st, 2023

Table of contents

If you are part of a couple that has been trying to conceive but haven’t had any early success you might be wondering what changes you can make to your sex life. Couples often ask themselves when should we have sex? Also, how often should we be trying? Let’s take a closer look to see how important these factors are when trying to conceive

How often? 

The NHS suggest that it is optimal to have sex without contraception every 2 or 3 days. This may be a surprise to some, as people often think, mistakenly, that having sex daily or multiple times a day is more likely to give you success. So, why is it that the NHS and doctors suggest every 2 or 3 days? 

Sperm count

You would imagine having sex daily or multiple times a day would increase the chances for the sperm to successfully fertilise the egg. However, sperm count can be significantly reduced by ejaculating daily. Abstinence has been shown to improve sperm count and sample volume when compared to daily ejaculation. Therefore, abstaining for a few days between intercourse will give you a better chance of conceiving.

In relation to men experiencing sperm DNA fragmentation (the snipping-up of DNA strands in the sperm head), there is some evidence to suggest that fragmentation is reduced by more frequent ejaculation, however this has to be balanced against potentially reduced sperm numbers in the ejaculate.  Taking Impryl will help reduce fragmentation without causing decondensation (often seen when taking antioxidants), in which case intercourse every 2-3 days and trying for optimal sperm numbers might be a good choice.

Stress and fatigue

On top of the consideration of sperm count, feeling like you must have sex every day can build unwanted pressure and fatigue. This can take all the joy out of the journey of trying to conceive. Stress and fatigue can also contribute towards erectile dysfunction in men adding further obstacles to conceiving naturally. 

When is the best time? 

Ovulation and fertile window

It is recommended to try and have sex during ovulation to maximise your chances. Ovulation usually occurs around 12 to 16 days before your period. Many people use kits or apps to help track their ovulation so they can prepare for their fertile window. If neither of you have been diagnosed with any male or female sub-fertility conditions and both of your libidos are high, you may elect to have sex every day for this small window to help improve the chances, as the egg only lives for 12-24 hours after it has been released.  However, please bear in mind that sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to 5 days; this is why doctors and fertility specialists consider that having sex every 2-3 days is enough, as in this case, sperm is likely to be present when the egg is released.

Tracking ovulation can be very useful, but for some couples it can feel like a chore and overwhelming. Having a set date can build unwanted pressure and anticipation. If you think this applies to you, then know that by having sex every 2 or 3 days you will be having intercourse at least once during your fertile window and, therefore improving your chances to conceive naturally.

Keep trying throughout the month 

After ovulation has stopped you could think that there is no point in continuing, as the window of opportunity has passed. This is a common misconception. It is possible to conceive having had sex at any point throughout the menstrual cycle, even during a period, as the egg may be released early and sperm can survive for some time in the female reproductive tract. However, this isn’t the only reason to continue: 

Male Health – ejaculating more often has been shown to lower the risk of prostate cancer

Improved Sleep  – Having sex regularly can not only improve intimacy it can give you better quality sleep

Embryo implantation – There is some evidence that having semen in the uterus can help the development of an embryo. If you are lucky enough to have already conceived early that month there is a theory that the semen can help the embryo to “stick” to the lining of the uterus.

Other considerations:

Lubricationcan decrease friction and ease irritation during sex, however, some lubricants can damage sperm so make sure you are using a sperm-friendly lubrication to help support conception.

Irregular periods – having irregular periods and trouble ovulating can be extremely stressful when trying for a baby. If you are experiencing irregular or absent periods, you might have PCOS. Schedule an appointment with your doctor for further investigation. If you are diagnosed with PCOS, Inofolic Alpha could be a good place to start. There are hundreds of testimonials and reviews on the Fertility Family website from happy customers.

Sperm quality – it is often assumed that infertility is most likely to be down to the female, but male factor infertility is just as common. Having healthy sperm is one of the most important considerations when trying to conceive.  Cutting out alcohol and smoking from your lifestyle has been shown to be helpful.  We also recommend supplementing your diet with Impryl which has been shown to improve many sperm quality factors including DNA fragmentation. You can learn more about how Impryl’s metabolic support increases the chances of conception here.

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