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How often should I have sex if I’m trying to conceive?

Earlier this month, there was a national story published about Americans having less sex today than we were a few decades ago. In a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, it was found that American adults are having sex on average 56 times per year, compared to 67 times per year in 1989. And while age had a strong effect on the frequency of intercourse, there are other factors such as people getting married and/or starting their families later in life that strongly influence frequency of sex. So we wondered, how does less sex impact fertility?

Is sex less enjoyable for couples trying to conceive?

In a recent Shady Grove Fertility survey, just 13 percent of respondents said sex was more enjoyable when they were trying to conceive. Respondents cited that it was wonderful to know they were trying to build their families.

For many of respondents however, 44 percent, they said that while it was more enjoyable at first, that feeling did fade. “For us, it was such an exciting feeling to know that this one time could make the baby that we have always wanted. But as the months went on without a positive result, there began to be more pressure and less romance as we started to time our intercourse with ovulation predictor kits,” says one anonymous Shady Grove Fertility Facebook community member.

The remaining 43 percent of respondents said that sex while trying to conceive was less enjoyable and began to feel like a chore.

Share your experience in this 1-question survey.

How often should I have sex if I’m trying to conceive?

On average, Americans are having sex just a little more than once per week. For couples trying to conceive, there is a high likelihood of missing your “fertile window” with this sexual frequency.

Generally speaking, your “fertile window” is 6 days leading up to and ending on the day of the female partner’s ovulation. Sperm can live in the female body for several days and the egg survives for approximately 24 hours after ovulation. Therefore, to optimize chances of pregnancy, it is recommended to have intercourse every 24 to 48 hours leading up to ovulation.

Determining Your Fertile Window

For women with a regular cycle, ovulation typically will occur 14 days before the start of your next period.

For women with irregular and therefore less predictable cycles, they may not be able to determine when ovulation will occur. Ovulation predictor kits can be used at home to detect rises in luteinizing hormone (LH), which is an indicator of ovulation.

At Shady Grove Fertility, patients have LH levels measured during their day 3 testing, and patients are often given medication, such as clomiphene citrate (Clomid or Serophene), which prompts the body to produce more LH to induce ovulation.

When to Seek Help if You’re Struggling to Conceive

A fertile woman in her 30s only has about a 15 percent chance of conception each month. So a few months of trying is completely normal. Approximately 40 percent of fertile couples will conceive within 3 months of trying, and 70 percent of fertile couples will conceive within 6 months.

For women under 35 years old who have been having unprotected intercourse for a year, it is recommended to speak with a fertility specialist. For women 35 to 39 years who have been having unprotected intercourse, it is recommended to speak with a fertility specialist after 6 months. For women 40 or older, it is recommended to speak with a fertility specialist after 3 months or right away.


If you are having trouble conceiving on your own, it may be time to see a fertility specialist. Please call us at 877-971-7755 or request an appointment online.

At Shady Grove Fertility, we’re here to give you the caring support you deserve as you start or grow your family. As a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence, we offer patients individualized careinnovative financial optionsover 30 accepted insurance plans, and pregnancy rates among the highest of all national centers. We offer patients the convenience of 19 full-service and 6 satellite locations across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. More than 1,700 physicians choose Shady Grove Fertility to refer their patients, and more than 96 percent of our patients say they would recommend Shady Grove Fertility’s 39 physicians to a friend. With 10 Shady Grove Fertility babies born each day, your dream of starting or growing your family are within reach.


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