Some people get pregnant within the first month, but this is not always the case. Getting pregnant can take up to a year or longer.
Conception in the first month occurs for about 30% of people attempting pregnancy.
Successful conception rates tend to decrease steadily after the first month of actively trying to conceive. However, many healthy people without fertility issues could expect to become pregnant by the end of the first year.
This article examines how long it may take to become pregnant. We also look at what may affect fertility, as well as available fertility treatments.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vast majority of people trying to conceive will become pregnant within the first year. They also define infertility depending on the age of the person:
- In people younger than 35 years, infertility is not becoming pregnant after 1 year of unprotected sex.
- In people 35 years and older, infertility is not conceiving after 6 months of unprotected sex.
According to infertility research, the likelihood of getting pregnant in the first month is around 30%. For people without fertility issues, the approximate chances of conception are:
- 75% after 6 months
- 90% after a year
- 95% at 2 years
The time it takes to conceive varies between people. For some, conception occurs in the first couple of months of unprotected sex. Others may have trouble getting pregnant and need help from a healthcare professional.
Approximately 1 in 8 people aged 15–44 years have difficulties trying to conceive or carrying a pregnancy to their due date. People who are not pregnant within 1 year should talk to their doctor for advice.
There are several reasons that people may find conception difficult, such as:
- an issue with sperm health
- problems with ovulation
- their age
- abnormalities in uterus shape
- a blockage of one or both fallopian tubes
- unexplained infertility
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine add that egg quality and quantity can also affect fertility and the likelihood that someone will conceive.
People can take steps to increase their chances of getting pregnant, including:
- maintaining a moderate weight, including not being underweight
- eating a healthful diet
- taking prenatal vitamins to help with fetal development
- tracking periods and ovulation
- getting tested for sexually transmitted infections, which can cause reduced fertility
- getting a Pap smear
- quitting smoking tobacco or marijuana
- talking with a doctor about medication side effects that may affect sperm count or quality
- avoiding heat and toxic chemicals, which can cause issues with sperm
- having sexual intercourse at the right time of the month, starting around day 10 of the egg cycle and then every other day up until ovulation
People with regular menstrual cycles are more likely to get pregnant than those with irregular menstrual cycles. This is because people with irregular periods may not ovulate regularly. During irregular cycles, ovulation could occur any time between 9–21 days into the ovulation cycle.
People usually see a doctor after 1 year of attempting to get pregnant. They can also see a healthcare professional earlier if they have concerns about their fertility.
There are several fertility treatments a person can discuss with their doctor. Before starting treatment, people will usually undergo tests and assessments, including:
- an overall health assessment
- hormonal balance test
- ovarian function test
- thyroid function test
- prolactin level test
- testing for metabolic conditions
- an examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes
- anti-müllerian hormone test
Treating any abnormalities can help improve a person’s fertility.
A doctor may also recommend having sperm analysis. Analyzing sperm can help determine if conception issues are due to sperm count or quality.
Low-cost fertility treatments may include:
- losing or gaining weight
- ovulation induction (OI), a medication that induces the release of an egg
- intrauterine insemination, which can take place alongside OI
- superovulation treatment, which stimulates the release of two to four eggs
Other fertility treatments doctors may discuss include:
- in vitro fertilization
- controlled ovarian hyperstimulation
- surgical correction of any problems with reproductive organs
People should talk to their doctor if they have trouble conceiving:
- after 1 year for people under 35 years
- after 6 months for people 35 years and older
A person may consider talking to their doctor sooner if they follow the relevant recommendations but still have difficulties conceiving.
A healthcare professional can help determine if any biological issues could be causing a fertility problem. They can recommend treatments to correct certain underlying health conditions that may be causing low fertility. They can also discuss and recommend fertility treatments.
Every person will have a different experience when trying to conceive. Some will get pregnant quickly, while others may conceive within a year or struggle with conception.
People struggling to conceive should talk to their doctor about their concerns. A healthcare professional could recommend solutions to fertility issues.
For some individuals, getting pregnant in the first month of trying is possible. Many people will conceive within the first year of having unprotected sex.
A person can increase their chance of pregnancy by tracking their ovulation cycle and maintaining a healthful weight and lifestyle.
If someone has trouble conceiving, they should talk to their doctor about possible causes and treatments.