When trying to conceive, timing is essential. People are only fertile for a brief period every cycle, with peak fertility occurring right before ovulation. A person’s egg lives for only 6 to 24 hours after ovulation. Thawed frozen sperm will live up to 24 hours (compared with fresh sperm that can live for up to 5 days). This makes tracking fertility and ovulation critical to conceiving with frozen sperm samples.
In order to determine when ovulation is most likely to occur, you’ll need to become familiar with your own menstrual cycle—everyone’s cycle differs. If possible, try to chart your cycles for at least three months before beginning insemination to get a sense of the normal range of your fertile days. By charting fertility signs, using ovulation prediction kits or monitors, and/or working with your medical providers, you should be able to identify the 48-hour period before ovulation, during which insemination will be most likely to result in conception.
We have provided some basic information below and recommend the following resources:
Ovulation cycle basics:
- The first day of your period is Day 1 of your cycle.
- The last day of your cycle is the day before the first day of your next period.
- The number of days that pass between Day 1 and the next cycle Day 1 is the length of your cycle. Menstrual cycles range (on average) between 24 and 35 days in length.
- Ovulation occurs mid-way through the cycle, typically 14 days before next cycle Day 1 (so not necessarily 14 days after Day 1 of your current cycle).
- Fertile cervical mucus is one of the most useful outward fertility signs. Fertile cervical mucus is clear and slippery, resembling egg white in appearance and consistency. People can have a range of 1-4 days of fertile mucus. Fertile mucus is necessary for vaginal insemination. Fertile mucus often decreases with age, and a lack of abundant mucus is one of the primary reasons for doing intrauterine inseminations (IUI), rather than vaginal inseminations.
- Some people also find it helpful to chart their Basal Body Temperature (BBT), the body’s baseline temperature at rest, which—in many people—is lower before ovulation and higher after ovulation. BBT is a good way to confirm ovulation has occurred in a cycle but is not necessarily the best way to predict ovulation. When inseminating with thawed frozen sperm you need to be able to predict your ovulation.