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How Soon After Ovulation Will Conception Occur?

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Technically speaking, it is extremely unlikely for conception to occur any time other than during ovulation. Once ovulation is over, there is not generally egg for the sperm to fertilize. Having said that, it is important to understand exactly how the process of conception works, and how it relates to ovulation.

Conception occurs when a sperm meets up with an egg and fertilizes it in a woman’s fallopian tube. That fertilized egg then travels into the uterus, where it implants in the wall of the uterus several days later. The only time during a woman’s monthly cycle that there is an egg in her fallopian tube is, by definition, when she is ovulating. The egg can survive for only about one day when it is in the fallopian tube. For some women, it is possible that an egg could survive as many as three days after ovulation, and thus conception could occur. This is extremely rare. For conception to occur, the sperm has to meet the egg pretty much immediately when you ovulate.

Still, there are things that may make it seem like conception occurs after ovulation. For example, during a given month, it is possible that ovulation would occur later than it usually does. Any number of factors can cause this to happen, including illness, dietary changes, increase in physical activity, and even stress. Ovulation can sometimes occur as much as a week after it normally does.

In some extremely rare cases, it may be possible for it to seem as though you conceived while you are on your period. For example, if you have an extremely short menstrual cycle, it is possible that you could begin ovulating right as you are done menstruating. Another possibility is if you tend to bleed for a long period of time during your period. If this is the case, it could be that you are still bleeding long after you are actually done menstruating, and while you are actually ovulating.

If you are trying to conceive, there are certain times surrounding ovulation that you will want to try to conceive. Sperm can often survive as long as one week in a woman’s body. Thus, trying to conceive on the 10th, 12th, 14th, and 16th days of your monthly cycle are the optimum times for conception to occur. This assumes that you have a regular 28-day cycle, and it allows for later-than-normal ovulation.

  • 3kids:)

    Iwas wondering I am 41 and have 3 children I seem to be pretty fertile as have quite a few pregnancies. I ovulated yesterday(13/03) and had unprotected sex on the 10/03 is there any chance that the sperm lived long enough to meet up and fertilise an egg?

  • earthsmagic

    Well, it is possible. Sperm can survive up to 5 days past ejaculation if all the circumstances were perfect. (Sperm health of your partner and the cervical mucus environment for you.)

  • robin

    I had sex on May 11 and May 18 my calendar says I ovulated between May 13-18. My average cycle is 31 days but there where 35 days in my last cycle. When did I concieve?

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    Unfortunately, since you don’t know when you actually ovulated, either of those days could have been responsible for your pregnancy. Ovulation only happens on a single day and how far pregnant you are would depend on the actual day you ovulated and not when you had sex.


Last modified: October 28, 2013


The information provided here should not be considered medical advice. It is based on the average experience of women trying to conceive and may not be what you may be experiencing. It's not meant to be a replacement for any advice you may receive from your doctor. If you have any concerns about your cycle or our ability to get pregnant, we advise you to contact your doctor.