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Getting Pregnant: How Long Does it Take?

Lori Ramsey


The amount of time it takes to become pregnant depends on each individual woman. Many factors influence conception including age, health, and weight to name just a few, but the main fact is that age plays a major role in pregnancy achievement and in the amount of time it can take to conceive.

According to the March of Dimes, women in their twenties have the greatest chance of conception without outside treatments. The older a woman gets, the longer it may take. A woman who is 35 years old may take twice as long as a woman in her twenties to conceive.

Statistics, Fertility and Pregnancy

Research has shown that women under the age of 25 stand a 20-25% chance of conception occurring in each cycle for those actively trying.* By the time a woman reaches the age of 35, her chances of conceiving drops to 15% each cycle. By age 40, it plummets to a mere 5% per cycle. While these statistics seem daunting, with today's medical technology, conception rates can increase with a little help.

The reason for such a decline is due to the aging process on the reproductive system -- hormones levels tend to fluctuate and the quality of the eggs within the ovaries decline through the years.

What Does This Mean?

If you are under 25 years old, you have a one in four or five chance of becoming pregnant. This means that it "normally" takes four to five months for conception to occur if you and your partner are in optimum health and are actively trying. With this in mind, you might want to mark your calendar when you begin trying and if pregnancy hasn't occurred within six months, you may want to inquire with your physician.

If you are between the ages of 35 and 40 you have a one in six to seven chances of becoming pregnant with the conception rate dropping with each year closer to age 40. It could take you up to seven months, barring you and your partner are in optimum health, to conceive. On the other hand, you may not want to wait this long to seek the help of your physician.

If you are over 35, it would be advisable for you to start off with a good pre-pregnancy checkup. This will save a great amount of time if any infertility problems are suspected, thus saving precious cycles in which to conceive.

If you are over 40 you have a one in twenty chance of conceiving each cycle. This means that it could take up to 20 months for conception to occur. It is highly recommended that if you are over the age of 40, begin trying to conceive under the care of your physician. This will insure that time will not be wasted, and that everything is done correctly for conception to occur.

The Bottom Line

Keep in mind that statistics are merely an average look at the general population—there are always exceptions. Some women may experience unexplained infertility in their twenties only to give birth time and again in their thirties. With everything you hear, take it all as information only and do no get upset if you are 36 years old and just now trying to conceive. Chances are before you know it you will be holding that bundle of joy and these statistics will be the last thing on your mind. Be sure to have a good pre-pregnancy checkup with your physician, no matter what your age. Starting off on the best foot possible will insure a positive outcome.

*Statistics from the March of Dimes.

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Showing 1 - 10 out of 31 Comments
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Lili Aug 29, 2017 04:21:59 AM ET

I'm 41. Haven't seen my period. Pregnancy test negative. What do I do?

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Nastia Dec 20, 2016 10:53:30 PM ET

I am having a kid and I am 23 years old. How long does it work?

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Isabelle Dec 19, 2016 03:50:09 PM ET

Hi my husband and i tried to conceive last month. I had my period on the 6th of November 2016. I checked 14days after and I ovulated on the 20th. We did it before and on the day I ovulated. I did about 5 tests and they all came back negative. And on the 12th of December I started spotting lightly, then I started to bleed more but it was not like a normal heavy period, it was just a little more than lighter with a lot of mucus and no pain. It lasted about a week. I did another test on the 19th of December and again it came back negative. Can you explain this please? I'm really confused!

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Geminichild Jan 28, 2016 12:10:18 AM ET

I have been on depo for 5 to 6 years. My last shot was March of 2015. I have a period every month, but it seems like I have not yet gotten pregnant. Recently I had a early period. It started off as light pink discharge then heavy bleeding for a few days but short then it stopped and a few days later I had brown discharge then nothing. I've been having cramps and white discharge now and a weird taste in my mouth. Could I be pregnant ?

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babybaby Feb 4, 2015 06:18:06 PM ET

I am 19. My fiance' is 19, and we have been trying to get pregnant since May of last year, but no luck. We want to conceive before we move into our new home in March. Could me not getting pregnant have anything to do with my age? Because I'm not in my twenties?

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Guest Jan 4, 2015 06:28:36 PM ET

I'm 19, and my boyfriend is 20. We have our own house. I'm desperate for a baby, and we've been trying since August, but no luck. Help!

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Guest Nov 28, 2014 01:57:57 AM ET

Hi. I want to know why I can not get pregnant. I am 41 years old, and I want to have one more, a girl. I already have two boys.

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Guest Nov 17, 2014 04:47:37 AM ET

I just want know if I could be pregnant when I have my period.

guest Dec 22, 2014 05:41:02 PM ET

No, because your eggs break down during this cycle.

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Guest May 11, 2014 02:55:51 PM ET

I wish people who use statistics would learn how to read them. If you have a 25% chance of conceiving per cycle, it means on average for people like you get pregnant in 2 months (but not to worry about it for 4 months). Generally the advice is try for a year and then get checked out.

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Guest Dec 25, 2013 10:37:46 PM ET

Is it possible for an older women get pregnant faster if her partner is much younger?

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