How to Use Timed Intercourse When You’re TTC (Natural and Fertility Methods)

by Jul 1, 2021

Having sex during ovulation is not a new concept for women who are TTC.  However, for couples who are looking for a bit more precision, or might be struggling to conceive, timed intercourse uses tracking + scheduling to increase your chances of success.

timed intercourse

Timed intercourse is often the first step in trying to address infertility and this post will explore both the natural and assisted methods, how they work, and who is a good candidate for each. If you’re not having much luck with conception, or are just looking to better prepare yourself for when you start trying, this post is a great resource.

What is timed intercourse?

In a nutshell, timed intercourse is the practice of monitoring your body to properly time and engage in sexual intercourse to improve your chances of becoming pregnant.  This can be a natural and straightforward method and is often the starting point for many couples struggling to conceive. Timed intercourse works by tracking your ovarian cycle via ultrasound or hormone testing in order to monitor egg development and predict ovulation.  With that data, couples are able to time intercourse for the most fertile period in the cycle.  If you have been trying for a while, your doctor may recommend this simple process in conjunction with standard fertility tests before looking at more complex options.

Natural timed intercourse

Natural timed intercourse is a simple and straightforward option for fertility meant to improve your chances of natural conception.  It is the process of determining when you are ovulating and then having intercourse as close to ovulation as possible.

How it works

For natural timed intercourse to be successful, you must be able to predict ovulation.  This can be achieved through basic calendar tracking or through home monitoring methods such as an ovulation test or digital fertility analyzer.  It’s important to recognize that every woman is different so what works for someone else might not work for you. Once know when you ovulate, the optimal plan for timed intercourse is to have sex every other day during your fertile window.  With this information, you can start intercourse on cycle day 10 and repeat every other day through ovulation. This approach gives you the best chance of conception without knowing your exact ovulation date.  Because ovulation is known to commonly occur on day 15 of a typical 28 day cycle, timed intercourse would look like having sex on days 10, 12, 14, and 16 for the best chances of natural conception.

Who is a candidate

Candidates for natural timed intercourse are younger women in good health and without blockages in the fallopian tubes or other health issues.  This treatment is often a starting point for many couples trying to conceive and can be especially useful for women who have been trying for a short time but have not yet achieved pregnancy.

Timed intercourse as a fertility treatment

Timed intercourse involves optimizing your fertile window via ovulation monitoring with help from your doctor and may involve medication or other procedures such as ultrasounds.  Doctors can monitor your egg development through blood work, ultrasound, or reliable data from a fertility tracker like Mira.

How it works

As a part of a fertility treatment, timed intercourse can either be medicated or unmedicated and will largely depend on individual circumstances and the needs of the couple.  For some women, an egg will develop naturally while others may need medication to stimulate egg development.  Once suitable egg growth has been determined, ovulation is either triggered naturally or through medication. Known as a trigger shot, a medicine containing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) stimulates the ovaries to release an egg or “trigger” ovulation.  Because your body reacts to hCG the same way it does to LH, an egg is expected approximately 36 hours after the ovulation shot.  Fertility trigger shots are administered before ovulation and help your doctor pinpoint when ovulation will occur so you can time intercourse accordingly. Timed intercourse can also be paired with oral medications meant to stimulate the ovaries.  Medications such as Clomid work by essentially triggering ovulation through a series of hormonal interactions that dupe the body into ovulation.  Your doctor will want to monitor your cycle while on Clomid so you can know when to have intercourse.  A trigger shot may be added to this line of treatment to give your ovaries an extra boost and give you the best chance at conception.

Who is a candidate

Candidates for this treatment are women with irregular or absent ovulation, hormonal abnormalities, or unexplained infertility.  Timed intercourse can be especially beneficial for women with ovulation disturbances when coupled with ovulation shots or oral medication to stimulate ovulation. Timed intercourse can also be used as a part of fertility treatment when ovulation is difficult to monitor at home or scheduling difficulties with your partner make fertility timing especially challenging.  Your doctor can monitor egg development and uterine health to optimize intercourse for the best chance of conception.

Timed intercourse alternatives

One of the most important things you can do to boost your odds of conception is tracking your cycle and timing intercourse during your fertile window.  Timed intercourse is a cost-effective part of a fertility treatment and often the first approach your doctor will have you try. Alternative interventions to timed intercourse include:

  • Diet and lifestyle changes to optimize fertility
  • Hormone tracking for personalized ovulation data
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI) or intracervical insemination

Your chances of conception are dramatically improved when intercourse takes place at the right time.  You have the best chance of conceiving during your fertile window and to know this you’ll need to know when you ovulate.  Timing intercourse for this period optimizes your fertile window and gives you the best chance of successfully getting pregnant. 

✔️ Medically Reviewed by Katerina Shkodzik, M.D., OB-GYN

Dr. Katerina Shkodzik is a certified OB-GYN with a special focus on reproductive endocrinology and infertility issues. She has been practising since 2015.

Dr. Shkodzik completed her residency program in the Department of OB/GYN at the Belarusian State Medical University and fellowship program in the Department of Gynecological Surgery at the Medical University of Bialystok, Poland.

Dr. Shkodzik is extensively involved in digital health projects providing her medical expertise and integrating of cutting edge technologies in medical science and clinical practice since 2018.

Dr. Shkodzik has participated in several studies focused on PCOS, endometriosis, menstrual cycle characteristics and their abnormalities based on big data of digital health in collaboration with leading universities.

She believes that paying special attention to women's health is a crucial step to improving the world we live in.

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