1. Barron, Mary Lee MSN, RN, BC, FNP

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I was very happy to see a news item in AJN ("Counseling Couples on Conceiving,"News, December 2005) on an article I had written with Richard J. Fehring. 1 I would, however, like to point out an inaccuracy.


The news item says "the optimal time for intercourse to result in pregnancy . . . is three to five days before ovulation." The "fertility window" is considered to be the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation; this is because sperm live for three to five days in estrogenic cervical mucus and an egg can live for 12 to 24 hours after the onset of ovulation. The most fertile days of the menstrual cycle, therefore, are the two days prior to ovulation-as the estrogen level rises, the cervical mucus becomes more viscous and better able to support sperm survival. 2 Please also note that our literature review focused on the issue of achieving a pregnancy; we did not address avoiding pregnancy.


Mary Lee Barron, MSN, RN, BC, FNP


St. Louis, MO




1. Barron ML, Fehring RJ. Basal body temperature assessment: is it useful to couples seeking pregnancy?MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs 2005; 30(5):290-6. [Context Link]


2. Dunson, D.B., et al. The relationship between cervical secretions and the daily probabilities of pregnancy: effectiveness of the two-day algorithm. Human Reproduction 2001;16:2278-2282. [Context Link]