Summary. Standard conception probabilities models assume that different acts of intercourse make independent contributions to the probability of conception in viable cycles. We propose an alternative, approximate model based on the assumption that the act of intercourse closest to the time of maximum fertility is the one most likely to have caused conception. We describe an adaptive algorithm [the most fertile intercourse day (MFID) algorithm] that estimates the most fertile intercourse day in each cycle. The approach is easily extended to include covariates and random between-couple differences in fecundability that affect the probability of conception in a given cycle. Reanalyses of two data sets reported in the literature are presented. Estimates of the probability of conception during the most fertile period of the cycle and of the effects of covariates are similar to estimates found using standard models.