Successful conception involves the coordination of a surprising number of factors with healthy sperm and accurate timing being just two of the most important. While a better understanding of these factors and the employment of a few choice methods can increase your chances of pregnancy, they are not a guarantee. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for over a year with no success, or if you have irregular periods that make detecting ovulation difficult, consider seeing a fertility specialist. Women who are over 35 may want to seek help after six months of trying to conceive unsuccessfully.
The single most important factor in getting sperm to fertilize an egg is to know when ovulation occurs; if a woman is not ovulating, then there won’t be an egg for the sperm to reach. Instead of assuming ovulation always takes place 14 days after the start of the last period, women should learn when they ovulate by tracking their monthly cycles and recording their waking temperature at the same time every morning. During ovulation, cervical fluid will be at its most stretchy and sticky and may resemble raw egg whites; body temperature will rise sharply just after ovulation, according to BabyCenter.com. Sperm are also more likely to travel to the egg if they are plentiful and healthy, so men should cut back on alcohol and eat a diet rich in antioxidants, zinc, folic acid, calcium and Vitamin D, all of which can improve sperm count and quality, says BabyCenter.com. Consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean dairy, beans, chicken, fortified cereals and leafy greens will help a man get all these nutrients into his diet.
To increase the odds that sperm will reach the egg, have intercourse anywhere from two days before ovulation to 24 hours after and preferably more than once. Fertility.com suggests that having intercourse with the man-on-top, rear-entry or side-by-side positions may help sperm reach the egg because they allow for deeper penetration and deposit semen closer to the cervix. Avoid positions such as standing, sitting or woman-on-top that allow semen to easily leak out of the vagina. After sex, women should lie down and raise their legs about 30 degrees; according to BabyHopes.com, this can assist the sperm in getting to the egg because they won’t have to fight gravity. Frequent intercourse can also keep sperm healthy and increase the chances of conception, so aim to have sex two or three times a week. High stress levels can adversely affect your ability to conceive, so try to keep sex fun and don’t worry too much about whether or not each encounter will result in a baby.