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Fertility FAQs

Is it safe to start trying to get pregnant right after going off the Pill?

Yes. Women used to be encouraged to wait several months before trying to conceive after going off the Pill, but today many doctors recommend trying shortly after you discontinue use because they believe there is a higher chance of conception within that time. It really depends on your body and how soon your cycle returns to the way it was before you started taking the Pill. Some women's cycles go back to normal immediately, while some experience a short delay and others may even take a few months.

How long can a human egg survive?

An egg can live for 24 to 48 hours after being released.

How long can sperm live in my body?

Sperm can live in your body for up to 7 days, or 168 hours.

Can douching affect my ability to conceive?

Yes. You should not douche when you're trying to conceive. In fact, douching at all is unnecessary because it alters the normal acidity of the vagina. Research shows that douching may make it more difficult for a woman to get pregnant, as well as boost her chance of an ectopic pregnancy. In one study of women trying to get pregnant, those who douched more than once a week took the longest to get pregnant.

Are there any sexual positions that can increase my chances for conception?

There is no scientific proof that any one position is best for baby-making, but any position in which your partner's sperm is not likely to leak out of you is thought to be the best. Many experts suspect the traditional missionary position (man on top) presents the best opportunity for conception because it allows for the deepest penetration and deposits sperm closest to the cervix.

Will lying still after intercourse improve my chance of conception?

Some experts believe you can increase your chances of conception by staying in a horizontal position on your back for up to half an hour after intercourse. Elevating your hips with a pillow is also suggested, which could help the sperm travel up the fallopian tube with the forces of gravity.

How soon after having a baby will I start ovulating again?

If you don't breastfeed, your cycle should resume as early as 4 to 8 weeks after giving birth to your baby. If you are fully or nearly fully breastfeeding, however, your periods may not come back until you stop breastfeeding completely. But not getting your period doesn't mean you cannot get pregnant, so you should not use breastfeeding as a form of contraception. Ovulation usually begins about two weeks before your period, opening up the possibility of another pregnancy.

Infertility

What is infertility?

Most experts describe infertility as the inability to conceive after at least one year of having regular, unprotected sex. In 2002, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about 7.3 million women in the United States from the ages of 15 to 44 had difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term.

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March of Dimes
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