By Sarai Arrones BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 04/15/2014

Timed intercourse is a simple procedure recommended for couples who have not been diagnosed with infertility or who have unexplained infertility.

It is advisable for women with ovulation malfunction and whose tubal permeability is in good conditions. This procedure is also used when, because of moral or religious aspects, the couple do not turn to in vitro fertilisation or artificial insemination treatments.

The ovulation cycle and the sexual intercourse are synchronised. On the one hand, the endometrium has to be prepared by means of an ovarian stimulation and, on the other hand, the exact date for the ovulation has to be established so the couple knows the best days to have sexual intercourse.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

Natural cycle

Sometimes, it is not necessary to turn to drugs. The follicular growth is monitored through ultrasounds. An acute rise of the luteinising hormone  (‘LH surge’) which is a hormone produced by gonadotroph cells,  triggers the ovulation so it starts and it is then when it is the best moment to have sexual intercourse. The LH can be detected in the urine or in the blood by a series of tests that have to be run as of the ninth day of the menstrual cycle.

Ovarian stimulation

The woman gets an injection of the FSH and HMG gonadotropins for 8 to 14 days so these hormones can have an effect on the gonads.

Ultrasounds and blood tests are made to monitor the growth and maturation of the follicles, so that the best day to have intercourse can be scheduled.

At times, the woman is orally administered with clomifene and other anti-prolactin drugs to treat women’s ovulatory dysfunctions.

Having timed sex implies a drop-off in the stress levels caused by the pressure generated by the waiting of an infertility treatment. Timed intercourse also improves the pregnancy rates in women with anovulation, i.e., poor ovulation or irregular ovulation. The main drawback is that the success rate is very low, about 10%.

It is recommended to employ this technique during the first 3-4 months, because most of the pregnancies achieved through this procedure occur in the first months.

Sharing is caring

Our editors have made great efforts to create this content for you. By sharing this post, you are helping us to keep ourselves motivated to work even harder.

Authors and contributors

 Sarai Arrones
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biomedicine and Biomedical Sciences from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Specialist Training Course of gamete, embryo, and animal tissue cryopreservation. Embryologist specializing in the field of Assisted Procreation. More information
Follow us on social media

Find the latest news on assisted reproduction in our channels.