Two New Studies Reveal More About Conception and the “Fertile Window”

Two New Studies Reveal More About Conception and the “Fertile Window”

Every woman has something called a “fertile window” which refers to the period of time in her menstrual cycle during which she can get pregnant. This period includes the day of ovulation as well as the five days prior to ovulation. Ovulation usually falls halfway throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle.

So if having more sex during your fertile window increases your chances of conceiving, what happens if you have sex outside of your fertile window? Two new studies led by a visiting research scientist at the Kinsey Institute of Indiana University named Tierney Lorenz, reveal that having more sex even outside of your fertile window may increase your chances of conceiving during your fertile window.

One of the studies found that changes in Hyper T cells and the proteins they use to communicate were greater in sexually active women. The second found a similar pattern with antibodies. Both of these are essential components of the body’s immune system. It seems that when a woman is sexually active, her body’s immune system begins to adjust in similar ways as it would if it were preparing for pregnancy.

What exactly does the immune system have to do with conception? It plays a huge role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy. It is responsible for duties such as protecting the sperm and egg from attackers and making sure the fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall. If the immune system begins to prepare for pregnancy outside of the fertile window, it increases the chance that conception will occur inside the fertile window.

It is important to emphasize that these studies are preliminary. There is much more research to be done on the topic before we can say with absolute certainty that increased sexual activity outside of the fertile window increases your chances of conceiving. However, these preliminary studies do provide a framework on which to base subsequent studies and get the discussion going about the topic. For women who are looking to conceive, this may provide one more method for improving their chances.

These findings do set the stage for women to be more comfortable with their sexual activity. Long gone are the days in which sex was a taboo topic for women. We can and should be discussing topics like these more, and we can and should be open and comfortable with our sexuality.

Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.