The time it takes to get pregnant varies greatly between couples. If someone has stopped using contraceptives, research suggests that the time to pregnancy is between two and three menstrual cycles. However, around 90% of people will be pregnant within a year.
This statistic comes from a
According to an
Many couples take longer than this to get pregnant. This is not necessarily a cause for concern, but people who experience this may want to speak with their doctor.
This article looks at how long it typically takes to get pregnant, how to improve the chances, and some of the options for infertility treatment.
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male” and “female” to refer to a person’s sex assigned at birth.
There is no single answer for how long it takes to get pregnant. Each couples’ unique set of circumstances will affect their chances.
According to the study in the BMJ, most couples conceive within
The study found that:
- 30% of couples trying to conceive did so in the first month
- 75% of couples conceived within 6 months
- 90% of couples conceived within 1 year
- 95% of couples conceived within 2 years
Another study from Germany in the same year had similar results. Researchers found the following pregnancy rates for couples trying to conceive:
- 38% became pregnant in the first month
- 68% became pregnant within 3 months
- 81% became pregnant within 6 months
- 92% became pregnant within 1 year
The study looked at 346 people. Of those, 310 conceived during the study, and 36 did not get pregnant.
Couples can try the following to increase their chances of conception each month:
- maintaining and managing weight
- tracking the menstrual cycle, including ovulation
- switching medications that may cause a low sperm count
- eating a diet rich in nutrients
- testing for sexually transmitted diseases and other conditions that may affect fertility
- avoiding smoking or cannabis use
- avoiding heat, chemicals, or other activities that could reduce sperm count
- having regular vaginal intercourse
Time sexual intercourse
A couple trying to conceive will need to have vaginal intercourse on a regular basis to increase their chances of getting pregnant.
According to the Utah Department of Health, simply having sex in the middle of a female’s menstrual cycle will not guarantee conception. This is because females can ovulate earlier or later in their cycle.
It is a good idea for couples to track when ovulation occurs so they can time their attempts to conceive correctly. The amount of time before ovulation occurs varies from person to person and from month to month.
Address fertility problems
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), approximately 9% of males and 11% of females of reproductive age have reported fertility issues. Several factors can affect this, such as:
- sperm vitality and number of sperm present
- the age of the female
- problems with ovulation
- blocked fallopian tubes
- the shape of the uterus
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
A doctor can diagnose health conditions that affect fertility and recommend the best way forward.
Infertility occurs when a couple consistently has difficulty conceiving. The NICHD define infertility as not conceiving with regular intercourse after 1 year for females under 35 years, and for females 35 years and older, not conceiving with regular intercourse after 6 months.
March of Dimes recommend that couples who have trouble conceiving talk with their doctor. The doctor will likely perform a physical examination and order tests that check for fertility issues, such as looking into the quantity and quality of sperm.
A doctor may recommend the following fertility treatments:
- controlled ovarian hyperstimulation
- a surgical procedure to correct any physical issues with reproductive organs
- in vitro fertilization (IVF)
A couple should talk to their doctor if they have not gotten pregnant after 1 year of trying to conceive.
However, anyone who thinks that other factors, such as an underlying condition or age, are affecting fertility should speak with a doctor sooner.
Some people may also want to talk to their doctor before they start trying to conceive to see if there are any specific steps they can take to increase their chance of conceiving.
How long it takes to get pregnant is different for every couple. That said, the majority of couples will conceive within 1 year of trying. It is possible but less common to conceive in the first month or within 6 months.
A couple looking to conceive should track ovulation and have regular vaginal intercourse in the days leading up to ovulation.
A couple should talk with their doctor if they have difficulty conceiving or if they want to check their fertility levels. In many cases, a doctor can help the couple improve their chances of conception.