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Timing Intercourse to Achieve Pregnancy: Current Evidence

Stanford, Joseph B. MD, MSPH; White, George L. Jr PhD, MSPH; Hatasaka, Harry MD

CURRENT COMMENTARY
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Physicians who counsel women for preconception concerns are in an excellent position to give advice to couples regarding the optimal timing of intercourse to achieve pregnancy. The currently available evidence suggests that methods that prospectively identify the window of fertility are likely to be more effective for optimally timing intercourse than calendar calculations or basal body temperature. There are several promising methods with good scientific bases to identify the fertile window prospectively. These include fertility charting of vaginal discharge and a commercially available fertility monitor. These methods identify the occurrence of ovulation clinically and also identify a longer window of fertility than urinary luteinizing hormone kits. Prospectively identifying the full window of fertility may lead to higher rates of conception. Proper information given early in the course of trying to achieve pregnancy is likely to reduce time to conception for many couples, and also to reduce unnecessary intervention and cost.

Prospective methods of identifying fertile days to time intercourse to achieve pregnancy are likely to be more effective than calendar calculations or basal body temperature.

Health Research Center, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, and Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Address reprint requests to: Joseph B. Stanford, MD, MSPH, University of Utah, Health Research Center, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, 375 Chipeta Way, Suite A, Salt Lake City, UT 84108; E-mail: jstanford@dfpm.utah.edu.

The authors thank Richard Fehring, DNSc, and Doug Carrell, PhD, for helpful comments on the manuscript.

Received January 9, 2002. Received in revised form April 19, 2002. Accepted May 30, 2002.

© 2002 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.