How long does it usually take to get pregnant?

It's impossible to say how long it takes to get pregnant because it's different for each woman.

Many factors can affect a couple's chances of conceiving, such as:

  • your age
  • your general health
  • your reproductive health
  • how often you have sex

Some women become pregnant quickly, while others take longer. This may be upsetting, but it's normal.

Fertility

Most couples (about 84 out of every 100) will get pregnant within a year if they have regular sex and do not use contraception.

However, women become less fertile as they get older. One study found that among couples having regular unprotected sex:

  • aged 19 to 26 – 92% will conceive after 1 year and 98% after 2 years
  • aged 35 to 39 – 82% will conceive after 1 year and 90% after 2 years

The effect of age on men's fertility is less clear.

What does 'regular sex' mean?

Having regular sex means having sex every 2 to 3 days throughout the month.

Some couples may try to time having sex with when the woman ovulates (releases an egg). However, guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises that this can be stressful and is not recommended.

Fertility problems

Fertility problems affect 1 in 7 couples in the UK.

Lots of factors can cause fertility problems, including:

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.

The most common cause is ovulation failure (which can be caused by lots of different things) and sperm disorders. In 25% of couples, fertility problems cannot be explained.

Read more detailed information about the causes of infertility.

Getting help

If you’ve been trying for a baby for one to two years without success, see your GP for advice.

Further information

Page last reviewed: 21/11/2015
Next review due: 30/09/2018