How Long After a Positive Ovulation Test am I Fertile?
Written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test — the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home.
Medically reviewed by: Dr. Joshua U. Klein, a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. He is also Chief Clinical Officer at Extend Fertility, a leading NY-based fertility clinic. Dr. Klein has also consistently been named “New York Super Doctor.”
Written on 9/28/20
Updated on 5/13/21
Ovulation tests — you’re likely familiar with them. These handy little tests measure luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in urine to predict when ovulation is going to occur. Why is this important? For timing intercourse when trying to conceive!
Contrary to what you may have been taught in middle school sex ed, there are only a few days each cycle when a woman can get pregnant. These days, often referred to as your fertile window or peak fertility, are when intercourse is most likely to result in conception.
Your fertile window is really short, so understanding when it occurs and how long it lasts after a positive ovulation test is critical when trying to conceive!
What is the fertile window?
As we mentioned, your fertile window is the few days each month when it is possible to successfully conceive. It includes the few days leading up to and the day of ovulation.
It is commonly accepted that the fertile window lasts about 6 days total. In fact, a recent study that included over 98,000 women who used the Ovia tracking app found that the probability of conception was the highest during the five days leading up to ovulation, with the highest probability occurring the day before ovulation.
You can track your fertile window using ovulation prediction methods such as cervical mucus monitoring, basal body temperature tracking, and ovulation tests.
Your fertile window includes the few days leading up to and the day of ovulation, when conception is most likely to occur.
What does a positive ovulation test mean?
If you’re predicting ovulation and tracking your fertile window using ovulation (LH) tests, a positive test result marks your fertile window. This is because luteinizing hormone surges about 36 hours before ovulation and triggers the ovary to release a mature egg. If you get a positive ovulation test, you can assume you will ovulate in about 36 hours and can plan intercourse accordingly.
So, how long after a positive ovulation test am I fertile?
The short answer: not long. Eggs are only viable for about 24 hours after they’re released. That, combined with the 36 hours between a positive ovulation test and ovulation, means you may only have about 60 hours (or 2 ½ days) during your cycle when conception is even possible. Once the egg dies, you’ll no longer be fertile and your period will come to start your next cycle.
Eggs are only viable for about 24 hours after they’ve been released and once they die, you are no longer fertile.
By now, you may be wondering why the fertile window lasts for a few days when an egg only lives for about 24 hours. This is because sperm can actually survive inside the cervix for up to 5 days, if fertile cervical mucus is present. So, having intercourse before ovulation occurs can ensure sperm is waiting for the egg once it’s released, giving the egg a higher chance to be fertilized.
The key to making the most of your fertile window? Timed intercourse!
Timed intercourse (i.e. planning sex around your fertile window) isn’t exactly...well, sexy. But it is one of the most surefire ways to give yourself the best possible chance at conception! Once you get that peak fertility observation like a positive LH test, you should start having sex.
If you and your significant other have been trying to conceive for some time now, sex might feel less like fun and more like a chore. Research shows there is only a tiny difference in likelihood of conception when having sex every day versus every other day during your fertile window, so don’t be too hard on yourself (or your S/O!) if you’re not in the mood on back-to-back days.
There is only a slightly higher chance of conceiving when having sex every day during your fertile window, versus having it every other day.
I’ve gotten a positive ovulation test and timed sex accordingly...now what?
Once you get a positive ovulation test and have intercourse during your fertile window, you may be wondering what to do next. You also may know that you’re really not supposed to take a pregnancy test until after a missed period — typically about two weeks after ovulation. So what can you do during this infamous two week wait?
Confirm successful ovulation!
Timing intercourse during your fertile window is one of the most important ways to give yourself the best possible chance at conception. Another way to improve chances at conception is by making sure you’re ovulating “successfully,” meaning post-ovulatory progesterone levels remain adequately elevated for a long enough period of time to support a healthy uterine environment in which an embryo can thrive. Without sufficient post-ovulation hormones, it can be more difficult to successfully conceive.
How can I confirm successful ovulation?
With Proov — the first and only FDA-cleared PdG test kit for ovulation confirmation. PdG is the urine metabolite of progesterone and is also elevated after ovulation has occurred. Studies have shown that elevated PdG levels (and positive Proov tests) on days 7-10 after peak fertility confirm that successful ovulation has occurred.
Proov is the first and only FDA-cleared PdG test kit to confirm successful ovulation.
Together, timing intercourse during your fertile window and confirming successful ovulation can give you the best possible chance at conception!
Written on 10/1/20