As soon as you have made up your mind that you want to have a baby, it is natural that you are hoping that it happens as soon as possible. Perhaps you know somebody who got pregnant easily, and you think you should too. This is natural and it is likely that you may get pregnant right away, or you may not. It’s important to know what is considered normal, so you don’t worry if there is no cause for concern. However, it is a fact that between 80 and 90 per cent of couples will conceive within 12 to 18 months of trying.
Infertility is the inability to conceive after 12 months of frequent, unprotected sex (intercourse), if you are less than 35 years old.
Because fertility in a woman declines steadily with age, if you are aged 35 years or older and has not conceived after at least six months of unprotected sex, you may be considered infertile.
How long does it take to get pregnant? This is one question that you will not get tired of asking in a hurry, particularly, if you are looking for the fruit of the womb, that is, trying to conceive.
There is no absolute strategy for getting pregnant, which means it’s difficult to determine how long it could take any given person to conceive. If you are having trouble getting pregnant, you’re not alone, because this is much more common than you think.
On average, more than half of couples conceive by six months, and about 85 per cent conceive within one year. If you don’t have a positive pregnancy test this time round, reconsider your efforts. It’s possible that you miscalculated your most fertile days, and so fertilisation did not occur as it should.
When sex coincides with your most fertile days, your chances of getting pregnant increase, so get to know each phase of your cycle to help you conceive. If you’re trying to get pregnant, you’ll want to start having sex after your period ends for optimal chances of conceiving. For most people, having sex frequently—two to three times a week, or every other day if you can, shortly after you stop menstruating is fine.
If you get your periods every 24 to 35 days, you are probably ovulating normally. A regular cycle is one of the clearest signs that your hormones are working properly and releasing an egg each month.
While getting pregnant may seem like a rather mystical process, once you understand the science and process, it makes a bit more sense. Still, you may wonder how long it takes to actually conceive after having sex. The short answer is that the egg and sperm can meet within minutes or up to 12 hours after ejaculation. But to see that second line on the pregnancy test, you still have some hurdles to cross.
Fertilisation occurs when the egg and sperm meet in the Fallopian tube. In order for this to happen, you must be in your fertile window. This means that you’re nearing ovulation or have ovulated. An egg can only be fertilised between 12 and 24 hours from when it is released. After that, it starts to break down, hormones shift, and eventually, a period starts the next cycle.
While it sounds like the chances of catching an egg are rather slim, under ideal conditions, sperm actually live for several days once inside the reproductive tract. Any unprotected sex within about five days of ovulation may leave enough sperm waiting and ready to fertilise. In other words, you may conceive after having sex nearly a week before ovulation if healthy sperms are already hanging out at their final destination.
But conception can also occur very soon after sex as well. The sperm can navigate the uterus and fallopian tubes to reach the egg as soon as 30 minutes after ejaculation. After fertilisation comes implantation of the embryo and the start of pregnancy symptoms. Pregnancy tests may not be effective until 6 to 14 days after fertilisation.
You can increase your chances of pregnancy each month by gaining a better understanding of the menstrual cycle and pinpointing your fertile window. You can have sex a million times, but if you’re not in the right part of your cycle, it won’t result in pregnancy.
Sex as early as five days before ovulation can lead to conception. But the chances are highest with sex the day immediately before the egg is released. So, familiarise yourself with your cycle and practice some extra caution during your fertile window. Also speak with your doctor
If you’re trying to get pregnant, don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away. This is easier said than done. But the odds are in your favour. If you’re over age 35 years, consider seeing your doctor if you’ve been trying for six months or longer — or if you otherwise have any other concerns about your reproductive health. Most couples who regularly have unprotected sex get pregnant within one year of trying and sometimes even longer. The message is that you should not give up.
– Gynaecologist; Dr Abayomi Ajayi
@ Punch Newspaper