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How long does it take to get pregnant?

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 from pregnancy to pregnancy. Many people may get pregnant fairly quickly with their first child but are then surprised when it takes longer to conceive their second.

This is because there are lots of different factors that can impact your fertility, including:

  • - Age
  • - Lifestyle e.g. diet, exercise, stress
  • - How often you have sex and when during a woman's cycle you have sex

    According to the NHS most couples will get pregnant within a year if they have regular sex and don’t use contraception. However, age can have 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

    Professor Allan Pacey explains in our spermbanter video series how age also affects men. They tend to ejaculate fewer sperm, they swim less well and they're less healthy in terms of size and shape but probably not enough to have a significant effect on their fertility. 

    What does ‘have regular sex’ mean?

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend having sex every 2-3 days throughout the month.

    Some couples may try to time having sex with when the woman ovulates (releases an egg) by tracking their fertile window.  

    When should we consult a doctor?

    It is important to be aware that fertility problems affect one in seven couples in the UK and can be caused by many different factors, including:

    1. Hormonal (endocrine) disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and problems with the thyroid or pituitary glands
    2. Physical disorders such as obesity, anorexia nervosa or excessive exercise
    3. 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:

    1. You have no medical problems, the woman is less than 35 and you have been trying for a baby for 12 months without success
    2. You have no medical problems, the woman is 35 or over and you have been trying for a baby for 6 months without success
    3. Either of you has any current or previous medical problems
    4. 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.



    NHS Choices -

    NICE Guidelines -

    Last updated 12.02.2019