FACT: Many women spend years trying to avoid pregnancy, and then assume that when the time is right, getting pregnant will simply be a matter of losing the birth control, having lots of sex, and waiting for the pregnancy test to come back positive in a couple of weeks.
For one-fourth of healthy couples in their 20s, that is all there is to getting pregnant. Statistically, a couple in their 20s—young, healthy, and fertile—have a 25 percent chance of conceiving each month. And then there’s the rest of us.
“If you flip that stat on its head, you’ll see that conceiving right away is anything but the norm,” explains Brad Imler, Ph.D., President of the American Pregnancy Association. “Seventy-five percent of couples don’t conceive during that first cycle of trying.”
Even for couples in their 20s, it takes an average of four to five months to get pregnant.
By the 30s, the odds of getting pregnant each month drop to 10-15 percent, and it takes an average of seven to 12 months to conceive. In the 40s, these numbers drop even more.
That’s why there’s no need to panic if pregnancy doesn’t happen instantly; it’s perfectly normal for it to take many months of trying. And that’s why it’s generally recommended that younger couples wait a year before seeking medical advice. (Couples over 35 should consider an appointment with a fertility specialist after only six months of trying, because if treatment is needed, the earlier it’s started the better the chance of success.)