Running out of eggs myth
Are you really running out of eggs?
12 Jun 2017
Pregnancy Old Wives Tales

Tackling “old wives’ tales" about getting pregnant with factual information.

So many couples coming to me for fertility issues* ask me to validate statements such as:

  • “You must have sex every day” or
  • “No, you should have sex at least twice a day to double your chances of conceiving” or
  • “You will only get pregnant if you orgasm” or
  • “After sex, you have to raise your legs and stay like that for at least 10 minutes so that the sperm won’t run out” or
  • “Missionary position (man on top) is best for deeper penetration” or
  • ”Doggy style (rear entry) is better for even deeper penetration”
* Fertility Issues / Fertility Treatment – BabyCreate

It’s time now to debunk a few of these “old wives’ tales”!

Now for the facts:

There is a 6-day ‘fertile window’.

This is considered the best time to have sex i.e. from 5 days before and on the day of ovulation.

According to latest research, ‘the minimum time lapse between the ‘LH surge’ (i.e. when you see two lines on your ovulation test strip and/or you notice the most increased amount of fertile mucus) and ‘follicular rupture’ (ovulation) in a natural cycle is 37-39 hours’.

In other words, the time between seeing those two lines on the test strip / thick mucus and ovulation is the most fertile period of the 6 day ‘fertile window’, but it only lasts approximately one and a half days.

So, this time period can often go unnoticed.

That’s why it’s advisable to start from 5 days prior (and continue every alternate day for the next few days), just in case.

Whether you have intercourse daily or every other day tends to yield the same results.

However, abstinence intervals of 2 days (taking a 2-day sex-free break) has been shown to improve sperm densities.

In other words, even though it makes no difference whether you have sex every day or every other day, it’s better for the quality of the sperm if a couple takes a 1-2-day break in between.

As much as you might enjoy having sex with your partner, if you have been experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, you might find this information a huge relief.

My patients who have been trying to get pregnant will tell me that it can be very stressful and that’s not helpful for your relationship let alone getting pregnant!

Intercourse only once a week will reduce your chances of getting pregnant by 33%.

And no sex for more than 5 days may negatively affect sperm counts. So, having intercourse 3 times a week and especially during that ‘fertile window’ is about right.

There is no evidence that coital (during intercourse) positions or post-coital (after intercourse) positions will increase your chance of pregnancy.

Sperm can be found in the cervical canal seconds after ejaculation regardless of sex position.

Although female orgasm may promote sperm transport, there is no known relationship between orgasm and fertility.

Sperm will move to the fallopian tube with the dominant follicle during ovulation i.e. the follicle that has just released the egg.

Once the egg has been released from its follicle, it will live for 24 hours, so it must be fertilised within that time period.

That’s why the ‘fertile window’ includes the day of ovulation as the last day (6th day) for conception.

Hopefully this has helped you debunk some of those myths that might have been hounding you and which should now be put to rest.

And hopefully, in doing so, you feel empowered with your knowledge; more relaxed about conception and find yourself once again enjoying the good things in life!

Joanne Lipinski is a Melbourne based Fertility Naturopath

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