If you are like most women in Australia, you probably wonder if you have a chance of conceiving when you have unprotected sex after ovulation. The simplest answer is that your odds of getting pregnant will reduce. However, you shouldn’t let that stop you from trying to get pregnant, particularly given you might be mistaken about your actual ovulation day.
Continue reading to learn more about whether you can conceive after ovulation and what timing-related factors affect your fertility.
Back to Basics: What Is Conception?
The conception process is slightly more detailed than the story of an egg meets a sperm, or vice versa. While it’s true that the meeting of sperm and egg is a vital prerequisite to pregnancy, it is important to know that the overall process is a bit more complicated than this.
Although women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever need (over 1 million), only 400,000 eggs will be left when a woman hits puberty. These eggs are usually suspended in an undeveloped state and only grow and develop into mature eggs right before ovulation occurs.
Around ovulation, one egg is released from a follicle (the eggs grow and mature in a follicle), then takes about 30 hours to travel from the ovary to the end of the fallopian tube. The egg stays there and waits for another 30 hours. If fertilisation does not occur within 24 hours, the egg will disintegrate.
Sperm and Egg
If there is sperm waiting around the reproductive tract before ovulation occurs (sperm can survive in the reproductive tract for up to five days), or if sperm make it to the reproductive tract once an egg is released, fertilisation can occur.
Many medical experts agree that fertilisation does not necessarily result in successful conception. The fertilised egg takes about six days to travel to the uterus, where it gets implanted into the uterine lining. This occurs within six to ten days after fertilisation in the fallopian tube.
Once the fertilised egg is implanted in the uterus lining, it develops and receives the nutrients required to result in a pregnancy. Only about 40% of the fertilised eggs make it past the implantation stage, and it’s at this point that medical professionals consider it a pregnancy.
Can You Conceive After Ovulation?
This mainly depends on your definition of ‘conceive’. The ovulated egg’s fertilisation needs to occur within 12 to 24 hours because the egg will no longer be viable after this.
However, egg fertilisation does not necessarily mean that you are pregnant. People who have undergone in vitro fertilisation or IVF can confirm that having an embryo or fertilised egg does not guarantee a pregnancy. The only time you are considered pregnant is when the embryo implants itself into your uterine lining. The implantation process takes five to ten days after you ovulate, and it will take several more days before you get a positive pregnancy test result.
Can You Conceive Three Days After Ovulation?
Once an egg has been released, you have between 12 to 24 hours for fertilisation. As a result, you are unlikely to conceive three days post-ovulation.
However, many factors influence your ability to conceive, and a woman can fall pregnant at any point during her cycle, so it is certainly not impossible.
Ovulation Day Errors
It is also important to remember that ovulation day errors may occur, particularly given that most ovulation prediction techniques are not highly accurate. While you may think that you have ovulated, there is a chance that you’re mistaken.
Currently, there are various ways to detect the most fertile period, including:
- Tracking changes in the cervical mucus, which is considered to be one of the best techniques
- Charting basal body temperature
- Using ovulation tests
Although a basal body temperature chart is one of the most accurate methods you can rely on to determine your ovulation day, it is not error-free, and neither is checking the levels of luteinising hormone in your urine.
Shop for Fertility Products at Fertility2Family
Understanding what stage you are at in your menstrual cycle is key to falling pregnant. With that in mind, it makes sense to shop for affordable and accessible fertility products in bulk at Fertility2Family.
Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified enrolled nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.