baby-making time:
a dad’s guide to conceiving

Trying for a baby can be a very exciting time for both partners. You might be wondering how to get pregnant, when to have sex, or what positions to try. If so, you’re in the right place…

thinking about being a dad, conception tips and mens fertility

the technical stuff

In most cases, a woman’s ovaries will release an egg once a month. This egg travels down the fallopian tubes, towards the womb. It’s called ovulation[1] and usually happens around 14 days after the first day of a woman’s period. The egg only lives for 12-24 hours after it’s released, so it needs to meet up with your sperm pretty quick. Sperm can live for up to seven days, so your sperm can spend a few days swimming around, waiting for the egg to be released before fertilising it.

when is the best time to get pregnant?

Fortunately, you won't have to start having sex according to a timetable. According to the NHS[2], there’s no need to time sex around your partner’s menstrual cycle. Instead, it’s better to have sex regularly throughout the month. Fertility expert Professor William Ledger’s top tip is simply: 'Have a happy sex life'. Good news all round! Ideally, you should be having sex every two to three days, but we know that’s not always realistic.

sex positions to conceive a baby

A woman can get pregnant in any position, whether you’re into the reverse cowboy, or you’re more of a missionary man. The jury is out on whether some positions are better than others for conceiving[3]. Some couples swear by positions that offer deeper penetration, to get the sperm nearer the cervix. Others go for options where they’re lying down, so the woman can keep the sperm inside her for longer but the main thing is to have sex regularly.

keeping it fun

Checking charts and weeing on sticks can certainly take some of the spontaneity out of sex so don’t be afraid to get some of the romance back. Engage in plenty of foreplay and keep in mind sex is to be enjoyed, rather than just the means to an end. If you’re starting to find it all a bit stressful, you may want to agree to take a break from trying for a month. You could take time to appreciate each other’s bodies without focusing on whether it’s going to ‘work’ or not.

things that can affect a man’s fertility

If both of you lead a healthy lifestyle, it can help your partner to get pregnant. Things that can reduce a man’s fertility[4] include:

  • being overweight, with a BMI of 30 or more
  • drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week, or binge drinking
  • smoking
  • drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medication

when it’s not working

Most women will get pregnant within a year if they’re having regular unprotected sex. If you’ve been trying for longer, have a chat with your doctor. Fertility declines a little as a woman gets older, so if your partner is over 35, or you know you might have problems conceiving, see your doctor earlier. They might arrange for you both to have some tests. Fertility issues include obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome and a low sperm count. In many cases, your partner may well still be able to get pregnant, you'll just a little more support.


[1]. What is Ovulation, ClearBlue, February 2019

[2]. Trying to Get Pregnant, NHS, January 2018

[3]. Sex Positions for Getting Pregnant, BabyCentre, September 2017

[4]. How can I improve my chances of becoming a dad? NHS, July 2017

[5]. Ovulation Calculator, Mothercare, August 2019