Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Reducing clean days?

3 March, 2006


We are 32 (wife) and 43 (husband) years old, somewhat older than most frum couples first trying to conceive; thus we feel a sense of urgency about it. We have been married two and a half years, and for various reasons we needed to wait until this past month to start trying – I have been off oral contraceptives for about five weeks. I also have thyroid problems, which means that it could take a while for my cycle to become stable now that I'm off the pill. Is there any possibility of my not keeping the full 7 clean days, so as to give ourselves a few more days — so that I don't end up going to the mikveh during or after ovulation? I would only want to do this for one or two months, until my cycle hopefully stabilizes (or until G-d willing I become pregnant – whichever comes first!).
Thank you so much for this great service.


We empathize with your sense of urgency about conception.

Halachically, it is clearly prohibited to immerse in the mikveh before the end of the seven clean days.  The mitzvah requirement is to observe seven complete clean days.

Sometimes, however, there is room to shorten the five day minimum. If you don't have a real flow on day number four, and the discharge is not bright red, you should do a bedikah and arrange to show it to a rabbi. If it is okay, then ask him, or get back to us, about how to proceed. Make sure to be clear about your concerns about conceiving.  Additionally, don't assume a hefsek taharah or bedikah is unacceptable without showing it to a rabbi.

In a case such as you describe, it is important to continue to consult with your doctor.  Should you fail to conceive within the next six months, you should undergo tests to confirm definitively that you are ovulating prior to mikveh immersion.  If you are, then medical interventions would be worth exploring.  There is more than one option available and your doctor would work with you to find an appropriate option, taking your medical history into account.

Please get back to us with any further questions.

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