How long does it take to get pregnant?

Find out how long on average it takes couples to conceive.

If you're a woman or birthing person under 40 you have a good chance of getting pregnant naturally within 1 year of having regular, unprotected sex. This means having vaginal sex every 2 to 3 days without using contraception.

Age makes a difference, however. Starting at 35, your chances of getting pregnant start to get smaller. 

Age and getting pregnant

Many people are having babies later in life for very valid reasons such as not feeling ready to support a child, not having wanted a child before, or not having a partner.

However, we know that fertility (the ability to get pregnant) declines with age. If you're a woman or birthing person trying to conceive after the age of 40 you may be offered fertility treatment. This is because the number and quality of eggs drops. Male fertility also declines with age, from around the age of 40 to 45.

Read more about age and fertility.

Improving your fertility

There are some things you can do to improve your fertility. For example, if you smoke it will take you longer to get pregnant than a non-smoker. If you give up smoking now, you’re likely to conceive sooner than you would have done.

Other things you can do to improve your fertility include: 

Find out more about what to do before conception

Stopping contraception and getting pregnant

Some types of contraception may delay fertility for a while after you stop taking them. For example, the progestogen-only injection may affect fertility for up to 1 year after you last had it.

Find out more about stopping contraception

When should I get help with conception?

Speak to your GP if you have been trying for a year to conceive.

Many doctors will recommend that you wait until at least a year of trying to conceive by having regular sex without contraception before they refer you for fertility tests. Regular sex means 2 to 3 times a week.

You should see your GP sooner if:

Around 1 in 7 couples have trouble conceiving. There are ways to help people conceive if they're having problems getting pregnant. Find out more about fertility problems

More support if you’re worried about fertility

Charities and other organisations can provide further support if you’re worried about fertility. 

Fertility Friends 

Fertility Friends is a busy online forum for anyone worried about fertility or going through fertility treatment.

Fertility Network UK

Fertility Network UK is a charity giving free and impartial advice, information and understanding to anyone affected by fertility issues. Support services include local groups and an online community of people affected by fertility problems. There is also a free helpline where you can speak to a trained nurse in confidence. 


HIMfertility was set up by comedian Rhod Gilbert to provide advice, help men to talk about fertility problems, and signpost to further support.

NICE (2017) Fertility problems: assessment and treatment. Available at: (Accessed: 21 March 2024) (Page last reviewed: 06/09/2017)

Delbaere, I., Verbiest, S., & Tydén, T. (2020). ‘Knowledge about the impact of age on fertility: a brief review.’ Upsala journal of medical sciences, 125(2), 167–174.

NHS (2023). Infertility. Available at: (Accessed: 21 March 2024) (Page last reviewed: 9/08/2023 Next review due: 9/08/2026)

Martins da Silva, S., & Anderson, R. A. (2022). ‘Reproductive axis ageing and fertility in men’. Reviews in endocrine & metabolic disorders, 23(6), 1109–1121.

Review dates
Reviewed: 22 March 2024
Next review: 22 March 2027