When it comes to trying to conceive there is no magic formula in terms of how long it takes. It differs from couple to couple and even pregnancy to pregnancy. Many people may get pregnant fairly quickly with their first child but are surprised when it takes longer to conceive their second.
What many people don't realise is that it is estimated that the chances of getting pregnant are about 20% in any given month! Research suggests that out of 100 couples having regular, unprotected sex:
- 20 get pregnant within a month
- 70 get pregnant within 6 months
- 85 get pregnant within a year
- 90 get pregnant within 18 months
- 95 get pregnant in 2 years
According to the NHS most couples will get pregnant within a year if they have regular sex and don’t use contraception. However, age has an impact on a woman’s fertility, therefore the percentage varies by age bracket:
- Aged 19-26 – 92% will conceive after one year and 98% after two years
- Aged 35-39 – 82% will conceive after one year and 90% after two years
What can you do to help maximise your chances of conceiving?
When many people who are struggling to conceive visit their doctor or fertility clinic, the number one issue is often due to them not understanding when to time sexual intercourse during the woman's fertile window.
There are many ways you can identify the best time to get pregnant by tracking natural fertility signs and/or using fertility products, including ovulation tests and fertility monitors. You can also improve egg and sperm quality by preparing your bodies and making healthy lifestyle changes.
When should we consult a doctor?
It is important to be aware that fertility problems affect one in six couples in the UK and they can be caused by many different factors, including:
- Lifestyle e.g. diet, exercise, stress
- How often and timing of sex
- Hormonal (endocrine) disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and problems with the thyroid or pituitary glands
- Physical disorders such as obesity, anorexia nervosa or excessive exercise
- Disorders of the reproductive system, such as infections, blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis or a low sperm count
Some of these factors affect either women or men. In around 40% of infertile couples, there is a problem with both the man and woman.
If you have any concerns about your fertility and think you may have a problem getting pregnant we would always recommend talking to your Doctor, especially when:
- You have no medical problems, the woman is less than 35 and you have been trying for a baby for 12 months without success
- You have no medical problems, the woman is 36 or over and you have been trying for a baby for 6 months without success
- Either of you has any current or previous medical problems
- You are taking any regular medication
Deciding to see a Doctor may feel daunting but this is a positive step in the right direction. Talk to your partner before your appointment and remember you have each other for support.
We have developed a questionnaire to help you both to prepare for the initial consultation and ensure you don’t forget to mention any important information.
We would also recommend contacting The Fertility Network UK, which provides free and impartial support, advice, information and understanding for anyone affected by fertility issues.
You can contact them at:
Telephone: +44 (0)121 3235025
NHS Choices - How long does it usually take to get pregnant? - http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2295.aspx?CategoryID=54
NICE Guidelines - https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG156/ifp/chapter/How-long-does-it-take-to-get-pregnant