Timed Intercourse (TI)

Definition - What does Timed Intercourse (TI) mean?

Timed intercourse involves having sexual intercourse around the time that a woman is ovulating to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Timed intercourse is often the first treatment recommended to couples attempting to conceive. If timed intercourse is unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy, testing may be performed for infertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Timed Intercourse (TI)

Timed intercourse is a simple, and often effective, treatment for couples struggling to conceive. This method involves timing intercourse around the period of time when a woman is most fertile, which is the days leading up to and including the day of ovulation itself.

Ovulation is the time in a woman's cycle in which a mature egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube. This usually occurs on days 12-16 of the menstrual cycle. Once in the fallopian tube, the egg may be fertilized by sperm and the resulting zygote will travel to the uterus to further develop. After it has reached the blastocyst stage of development, the embryo will attempt to implant in a woman's uterus and continue to grow.

At the same time in a woman's cycle that the ovaries are maturing an egg for release, the uterus is preparing for the possibility of pregnancy. This involves changes in the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) to allow an embryo to implant. The period of time when the uterus is receptive to embryo implantation is known as the implantation window. The implantation window occurs on about days 20-24 of the menstrual cycle.

While sperm can survive in a woman's body for up to 2-5 days, an egg can only be fertilized in the 12-24 hours following ovulation. This period of time is known as peak fertility or the peak day. Although a woman is most likely to become pregnant on the peak day, sperm surviving in her body from intercourse in the days leading up to ovulation may be able to fertilize the egg once it has been released. For this reason, women wishing to become pregnant are often advised to track their cycle and time intercourse in the days up to and including the peak day.

Methods of tracking when ovulation will occur including the following:

  • Measuring the amount of hormones in the woman's urine (luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen)
  • Tracking a woman's basal body temperature
  • Examining the consistency of the woman's cervical mucus
  • Tracking a woman's periods by calendar
  • Performing an ultrasound

The disadvantages of timed intercourse include stress and time consumption. The advantages of this method are that it is cost-effective and fairly easy to implement.

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