Priya's popular Ebook, "How Not To Waste Another Month When Trying To Conceive," features a chapter titled: The Statistics Behind Getting Pregnant. This post will share information from that chapter and explain how to apply the data in order to give you scientifically backed education on conception.
How Many Fertile Days Per Month:
Technically there are only 6 days a month that you are able to get pregnant, which is referred to as your fertile window. These 6 days include the 5 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. The number, however, depends on how long your partner’s sperm can live and how long your egg can live.
Eggs typically live anywhere from 12-24 hours and sperm typically lives anywhere from 2-7 days. If his sperm lives 7 days, then you will have 8 days a month to get pregnant but if his sperm lives 3 days, than you have 4 days a month that you are able to conceive.
Adapted from Wilcox, AJ. et al. NEJM (1998) 394-397.
The graph above show the percent chance of getting pregnant during certain days of your cycle.
NOTE: Six days before you ovulate and the day after you ovulate you may have a 0% chance of getting pregnant!
How To Maximize Your Chance Of Getting Pregnant:
So how do you put these statistics to work? The key to maximizing your chances of getting pregnant each month is to find your fertile window. Having sperm waiting around to greet your egg increases your chance of getting pregnant. Aim to have intercourse every day (or every other day), starting two to four days before you expect to ovulate and then the day of ovulation.
NOTE: Most men don’t have to worry about having too much sex for sperm count: You should not limit sex unless there is a medical reason. Ask your doctor about the new research on low sperm count and frequency of intercourse. Some research is showing more sex actually increases chances of conception for men with low sperm count rather than skipping days.
During your non-fertile days, try and keep sex romantic and spontaneous to prevent burnout and unnecessary stress.
Age is a factor in how long it may take you to get pregnant and also a factor in how long you should try before you seek out professional help. As you get older, it is harder to get pregnant and harder to stay pregnant, that is, the risk of miscarriage increases.
If you are 35 or older, that does not mean you won’t get pregnant, it just means you may need to be more patient with the process. If you are 35 or older you should try for 6 months before seeking fertile assistance and for up to a year if you are under 35 years of age.
Here is your likelihood in a year or within 4 years (source):
30 years: 75% in 1 year, 91% within 4 years
35 years: 66% in 1 year, 84% within 4 years
40 years: 44% in 1 year, 64% within 4 years
The takeaway from these statistics are to show you how important it is to have sex during your fertile window and also give some indication of how long it may take you to get pregnant.
If you are in your late 30s don’t allow for the news and media to scare you into thinking it’s too late. It’s true that you probably don’t have as many good eggs as you did in your 20s. In your 20s you may have had 12 good eggs in a year and now you may have 4 good eggs in a year. That is why it may take longer and why timing is crucial, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have passed your biological age for fertility. If you have passed your biological age for fertility, talk to your doctor about other options for becoming a parent if that is still what you desire.
NOTE: You also don't need to wait 6 or 12 months before talking to your doctor. A pre-conception visit is a great idea and can help to answer any questions or concerns you may have as well as help to prevent risks that can arise once you do become pregnant.
If you would like to read more on scientifically backed data on trying to conceive, you can download the entire ebook here.