Timed Intercourse to Improve Chance of Conception

Timed Intercourse to Improve Chance of Conception

Timing is everything when it comes to making babies.

Tracking your cycle and having intercourse at the right time for conception is known as timed intercourse (TIC).  Conception happens when TIC takes place 1 – 5 days before ovulation.  Tracking when you ovulate allows you to time sex for the best chance of a successful conception.

Keep it simple – just have sex

If you are having sex regularly 3 or more times a week, a few days

apart each time, then you don’t need to track anything.  This approach is easy, and it emphasizes your relationship and intimacy.

When do you ovulate?

In any healthy cycle, ovulation should take place 14 days prior to the start of the next menses, generally between day 12 – 16 of a cycle that is 26 – 30 days long.

If you prefer to time intercourse (TIC), there are 3 ways to track ovulation:

  • Calendar
  • OPK – ovulation predictor kit
  • BBT – basal body temperature

Timed Intercourse with a calendar – how does it work?

You count the days of your cycle and have TIC over a large span of time that in theory includes ovulation.

  • Cycle Day 1: start counting days
  • Cycle Day 8 – 20: have sex every other day

Timed Intercourse with an OPK – how does it work?

Hormone levels change as your body gets ready to ovulate.  You can measure these hormones in urine, much like a pregnancy test.  Tracking these changes allows you to predict when you are going to ovulate.  There are two types of OPK’s.  Sticks can only predict when you are 24 – 36 hours away from ovulation, while monitors can predict when you will ovulate 3- 5 days in advance.  I recommend the ClearBlue brand.

  • Cycle Day 1: Start counting days
  • Cycle Day 8: Start having sex every other day and testing with the OPK
  • Continue testing every day until you get a positive test
  • This is the last day for TIC

Timed Intercourse with a BBT – how does it work?

After you ovulate your body starts making a hormone called Progesterone.  Progesterone causes the body’s temp to increase by 0.5 – 1.0 Degrees.  By taking your temp daily, you can track this rise which indicates that you have ovulated.

  • Cycle Day 1- start taking temp
  • Cycle Day 8 – start TIC every other day
  • Stop having TIC after temp increases by 0.5 – 1.0 degree
  • Continue measuring BBT throughout cycle

Important days in your cycle for conception

Cycle Day 1– the first day of flow (not spotting):

  • Start counting cycle days
  • Start taking BBT

Cycle Day 8 – exactly one week later:

  • Start having sex
  • Start testing with OPK

Key takeaways

  • Timed Intercourse – must happen 1 – 5 days before ovulation
  • Conception occurs within 24 hours of ovulation
  • Have sex early and often

Quick note on lubricants

The lubricant you use should be healthy for sperm, and I recommend the Pre-Seed Fertility Friendly Lubricant.


You deserve a clinician who will take the time to listen, understand your individual needs, and support you during your fertility journey.  Someone who has experience. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, we can answer your questions and help you get scheduled for your first appointment!

Call today 510-595-1175!

Leslie Oldershaw, L.Ac.
Medical director
Fertility Acupuncturist East Bay
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