The perfect timing: Why it matters when starting a family

In the journey towards parenthood, the significance of timing cannot be underestimated. A recent scientific review, conducted in collaboration with experts from Oxford University, the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, and the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, has shed light on a groundbreaking approach to increase the chances of successful conception. This comprehensive study, encompassing seven randomized controlled trials involving 2,464 women or couples who were actively trying to conceive, explores the potential benefits of timed intercourse using urine ovulation tests.

In the realm of reproductive health, timing indeed proves to be everything. The newfound knowledge that a simple, widely available urine test can significantly enhance the chances of successful conception offers hope and empowerment to countless couples striving to build their families. This breakthrough opens new doors in the world of fertility, inspiring further research and innovation in the pursuit of helping individuals achieve their dreams of parenthood.

In the pursuit of pregnancy, every month presents a narrow window of opportunity. This limited timeframe is dictated by the lifespan of both sperm and egg, commencing approximately five days before ovulation (the release of the egg) and concluding just a few hours afterward. Detecting this critical period within a woman’s menstrual cycle can be achieved through various methods, including urine ovulation tests, fertility awareness-based methods (FABM), or ultrasound tracking of egg release. The primary goal of this review was to evaluate the advantages and potential drawbacks of timed intercourse concerning pregnancy rates, live births, adverse effects, and the overall quality of life for couples endeavoring to conceive.

The study unearthed a remarkable revelation: timed intercourse centred around the fertile period, as determined by urine ovulation tests, elevated the chances of both pregnancy and live birth by a noteworthy margin. Specifically, in women under 40 who had been trying to conceive for less than 12 months, the use of urine ovulation tests resulted in an increased success rate of 20% to 28%, compared to the 18 percent success rate without these tests.

Tatjana Gibbons, a researcher at Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health and the lead author of the study, expressed, “Many couples encounter difficulties when attempting to achieve pregnancy, which can lead to profound concerns about their fertility.” The discovery that a straightforward and readily available urine test can enhance a couple’s prospects of successful conception is undeniably exciting. It empowers couples with greater control over their fertility journey, potentially reducing the necessity for infertility investigations and treatments.


Professor Christian M. Becker of the Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health highlighted the significance of these findings: “The stringent criteria applied in a Cochrane review make the moderately high-quality evidence supporting the effectiveness of urine ovulation tests truly impressive. It’s even more astonishing when we consider how long these tests have been accessible.”

Nevertheless, it is essential to approach these findings with caution. The researchers noted that many of the studies included in the review were funded by the manufacturers of urine ovulation tests, which raises valid concerns about potential bias. Furthermore, the study could not definitively determine the impact of other methods explored, such as timed intercourse supported by clinical pregnancy confirmation through ultrasound or the use of FABM in comparison to intercourse without ovulation prediction.