Timed intercourse is one of the simplest treatment options for infertility and can be a starting point for many couples trying to conceive. This treatment path helps a couple predict when a woman will be ovulating so intercourse can be timed for the best possible chances of conception. Before you and your doctor are able to make the decision about whether or not this option is right for you, you will undergo standard infertility testing.
What to expect for timed intercourse
When the cause of your infertility stems from unexplained causes, a cervical factor, or irregular or absent ovulation, and you desire a low intervention treatment option, working with our medical team to correctly time intercourse should be considered.
Around 50 percent of all treatment cycles performed at Shady Grove Fertility are considered more basic than IVF. These treatments are called “low-tech.” In fact, depending on the age and diagnosis of a patient, low-tech infertility treatments, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), timed intercourse, and ovulation induction is often the first treatment approach.
Step 1: Follicle recruitment
Some patients will naturally develop the follicle, usually containing the egg, while others may require an oral medication called Clomid to stimulate ovulation. Once a follicle of the appropriate size is identified through ultrasound the patient may trigger ovulation with an injectable medication.
Step 2: Timed intercourse
Insemination of the ovulated egg will occur with the strategic timing of intercourse. Usually 36-40 hours after the trigger shot is administered or natural ovulation has occurred, the couple will be instructed by their medical team to have intercourse in the privacy of their home. Often times the partner will be asked to abstain from ejaculation for 2 to 3 days prior to the timed intercourse. This allows the semen to build up an appropriate about of sperm.
Step 3: Progesterone support
Following the timed intercourse, a patient may be instructed to take daily supplemental progesterone — usually in the form of a capsule inserted into the vagina twice a day — to support the endometrial lining of the uterus and implantation of the embryo.