Tracking Ovulation to Improve Your Chances of Conception

Marie-Claire De Villiers
By Marie-Claire De Villiers
Romi Hector
Edited by Romi Hector

Published May 26, 2022.

Woman with curly hair looking down at cellphone and ovulation test

Ovulation is the process of releasing an ovum (egg) from the ovaries along the fallopian tubes into the uterus, where it lives for 12-24 hours. This allows for conception to take place if there is sperm to fertilize the egg. Ovulation usually takes place 7-10 days after the start of the menstrual period. The egg only lives for up to 24 hours, so the sperm has a small window for fertilization. Sperm, however, live for up to five days, so they may have swum through the cervix a few days before the ovum was released. This means that conception may take place in that period.

The opposite is also true. If sperm have already been present for a while when the ovum is released and are no longer active, then conception is less likely. The sperm have passed their 'use-by' date, so they are not fit to fertilize the ovum. Since only one ovum is released at a time, conception relies on plenty of fertile, active sperm to get the job done.

Does Tracking Ovulation Improve Your Chances of Conception?

Tracking ovulation does help to identify when an ovum is ready and waiting in the uterus. When sperm are ejaculated into the vagina, they must swim through the cervical opening to get into the uterus. So, the health of both the ovum and the sperm is critical to a successful conception. The sperm is assisted by slippery mucus from the cervix that is released during ovulation. When a woman wants to conceive, it is helpful to carefully track the day of ovulation, which is the best window for conception.

How to Track Ovulation

There are different ways to identify the release of an ovum. The most basic method is to observe changes in the cervical mucus over 5-7 days after the menstrual flow has stopped. This can be done by observing the look, feel, and smell of the vaginal mucus daily. It should change from being slightly sticky to watery and profuse to being thicker and more elastic, clear, and slippery. It has a high level of alkalinity, which gives off a mild scent. It indicates ovulation when it has a quality of stringiness and stretchiness ("Spinnbarkeit"). You should be able to stretch it like an elastic thread between your fingers. This indicates the fertile period. This method relies on your personal and accurate observation.

Other Ways to Improve Your Chances of Conception

By taking an ovulation test, you test the amount of Luteinizing Hormone in the body, improving your chances of conception. This hormone (LH) reaches a peak at ovulation.

A good time to use an ovulation test is when you notice signs of ovulation. These include:

  • Thickening and increasing elasticity of the vaginal mucus
  • Sensitivity or tenderness in the breasts
  • Heightened libido, a natural bodily response to the hormones released during ovulation
  • Pain in the lower abdomen when the ovum is released from the fallopian tube

The Ava Bracelet

You could also use an ovulation tracking tool or app. Detecting ovulation with the Ava bracelet or other fertility tracking tools can help. The Ava bracelet helps to identify ovulation with 89% accuracy. It should be worn at night when it records changes in body temperature, which can indicate ovulation.

Have Sex Often From the Beginning of Ovulation

It is helpful to have sex often from the beginning of the ovulatory phase, allowing for sperm to be present in the uterus before, during, and after ovulation. If you are not pregnant after sex during ovulation despite all these efforts, there may be other reasons for this.