How long does ovulation last? When is my fertile window?

By: Kacie Shrock, RN, BSN | December 19, 2022

Two of the most important questions when trying to conceive are ‘When is my fertile window?’ And ‘How long does ovulation last?’. Since the sperm and the egg can both only survive for certain periods of time, timing is truly everything. 

When Is My Fertile Window?

During each monthly cycle, there are a total of six days where intercourse could lead to conception, this “fertile window” comprises the 5 days leading up to ovulation day plus ovulation day. Although the egg can only survive up to 24 hours after ovulation, sperm can survive much longer – up to 5 days, which is why the fertile window begins 5 days before ovulation. 

Example of fertile window and ovulation symptoms


Although your chances for conception increase the closer you are to ovulation, there is still a possibility to get pregnant from having sex a few days before ovulation if the sperm survive. This is why it is recommended to time intercourse every other day during your fertile window, plus on your lutienzing hormone (LH) peak day, and ovulation day. 

How Long Does Ovulation Last?

Ovulation, which is the release of an oocyte (egg) from the ovary, lasts for as long as the egg survives. The egg can survive up to one day (24 hours), but no longer. Since we have no way to identify exactly when the egg is released and how long it will survive for, by having sex in the days leading up to ovulation, we can ensure there are sperm waiting in the fallopian tubes for an egg to drop. 

You may notice some signs and symptoms of increased fertility around the time of ovulation, which may include cramping or spotting. These signs typically only last for one day or less and subside after the ovulation phase. If you continue to have spotting or cramping after ovulation and into your luteal phase, always consult your healthcare provider. It is also important to note that not everyone will experience signs of ovulation, some women ovulate monthly without signs and would only know they are ovulating by using ovulation tests

The Key to Pinpointing Your Fertile Window

Timing intercourse to coincide with a woman’s fertile window maximizes the chances of conception. The day of ovulation can differ cycle to cycle,  which means the fertile window can also have a variation each cycle. This is a huge reason why it is so important to track your ovulation each cycle so you know the best days to time sex. 


Try a free Premom app to find your fertile window fast


Finding your LH peak is the key to pinpointing ovulation. Luteinizing hormone (LH) is the hormone responsible for triggering ovulation, which happens about 24-36 hours before ovulation. By tracking LH and identifying your peak, you can appropriately time sex where the sperm have a chance to meet the egg in the fallopian tubes.

When Should I Start Ovulation Tracking? 

You will want to begin using your ovulation predictor kits (ovulation test kits) daily after your period ends. Once you enter your fertile window, you can test twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening to ensure you do not miss your peak. You will know you have entered your fertile window by checking your Premom app and watching your LH levels begin to rise

We recommend that you…

  • Start testing after your period ends.
  • Use your second morning urine.
  • Test between the hours of 10am-8pm.
  • Wait a full 5 minutes for the test to develop before reading your test strip.
  • Use the Premom in app camera to capture the test results. 

Although you can use any ovulation test, we recommend using either the Easy@Home or Premom test kits because these tests were created for the Premom app


Try a free Premom app to find your fertile window fast

About Author

Kacie Shrock is a registered nurse who specializes in fertility and reproductive health. She has always had a passion for women's health and she supports women and couples virtually across the world while on their journey to their dream families. Schedule a consultation with Nurse Kacie right through your Premom app!


Wilcox AJ, Dunson D, Baird DD. The timing of the "fertile window" in the menstrual cycle: Day specific estimates from a prospective study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). Published November 18, 2000. 

​​Wilcox, Allen J., et al. “Timing of Sexual Intercourse in Relation to Ovulation.” The New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 1995,

Pregnancy - identifying fertile days: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. MedlinePlus.

Pregnancy - identifying fertile days: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. MedlinePlus. 

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