Dear Dr. Kate, How Often Should We Have Sex to Increase Fertility?

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Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City and she answers your medical questions here once a week. To ask her your own question, click here.

Dear Dr. Kate,

If I want to get pregnant, is it best to have sex every day or every other day? I’ve heard different doctors recommend one or the other very fervently, and I’ve seen research to support both approaches.

— Fertile Myrtle

Dear FM,

The most important thing about the timing of sex to conceive is concentrating your efforts in the “fertile window”—the five days a month that pregnancy is possible. The thinking behind this time period is that while sperm can last up to seven days, the egg is more fragile, and if she hasn’t deemed a sperm worthy in 36 hours, it means no pregnancy that month. The fertile window is roughly the three days before ovulation, the day of ovulation, and the day after. For women with regular cycles, the day of ovulation is 14 days before the predicted day of your next period. Ovulation predictor kits, available at pharmacies, can help you confirm when ovulation happens. And there are apps for both the iPhone and the Droid (MyDays is my favorite) that can help you track your periods and the best times to have sex. So I would keep track of your cycles, figure out your most fertile time, and have sex once a day for those five days. There should be enough sperm in a second ejaculate to do it twice in one day if you’d like, but follow that up with a day of rest to allow for rejuvenation. And if you’re simply not in the mood one day, simply take a day off.

— Dr. Kate

dr_kate_100Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. Check out more of her advice and ask her a question at Gynotalk.com.