Fertility and ovulation

You’re more likely to get pregnant around the time you are ovulating. This is when an egg becomes ready and you are at your most fertile. 

Using contraception

Use contraception if you want to avoid getting pregnant.

If you have sex without using contraception, you may become pregnant – even at a time in your cycle when you think you will not.

The information below does not replace medical advice. If you need more information about fertility, talk to your GP or go to a family planning clinic.

When you are most fertile

Each month around 12 to 16 days before the start of your period, you release an egg (ovulate). You are most fertile when you are ovulating.

When ovulation happens

The time that ovulation happens within each cycle can vary. It can depend on the length of your cycle and other things you may have no control over. For example, stress, travel or illness.

If you have a 28 day cycle, you will usually ovulate around the middle of your cycle. The egg you release can survive inside you for between 12 and 24 hours. 

If you have sex during this fertile time, your egg may be fertilised by a single sperm out of the millions released. Sperm can survive for between 5 and 7 days inside your body.

Every menstrual cycle is unique so it can be difficult to identify your likely fertile time in each cycle.

Download the guide ‘what you need to know about contraception’ (PDF, 474KB, 34 pages)