5 Factors That Affect How Long Conception Takes

Pregnant woman in black clothing holding her belly

Several factors should be considered when answering the question "How long does conception take?" While for some women, getting pregnant can happen before they even start actively trying, other women try to conceive for years without any luck.

Factors Affecting Conception

Many factors affect how long it takes to conceive a baby. Statistics show that the reason for fertility problems lies with the male partner 40 percent of the time and with the female 40 percent. The remaining 20 percent are combined factors.

The most important factors for women trying to conceive are:


A woman's age is a big factor when answering the question "How long does conception take?" While plenty of women have babies as they near, or pass, the age of 40, a woman's chance of conceiving is considerably greater when she is younger. In general, women under the age of 30 have the greatest chance of conceiving a healthy baby and doctors cite the age of 35 as the turning point where conception becomes less and less likely. Not only do younger women generally conceive more easily, they also have reduced rates of complications in pregnancy and reduced instances of serious conditions in their offspring, such as Down Syndrome.

Reproductive Health

A woman who has previously had certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or other medical conditions that have affected her reproductive health is less likely to conceive than a woman whose reproductive system has never been compromised. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two STDs that are not only fairly common, but are also without symptoms. Because women often do not know that they have contracted one of these STDs, the disease can run its course, sometimes causing future infertility. For this reason, it is important for all sexually-active women to be screened for STDs annually.

In order to protect your reproductive health, stay informed about the natural ways to increase fertility.


A woman's overall physical and mental health can greatly affect her chances of conceiving a baby. Women who are either underweight or overweight have decreased chances of getting pregnant. Generally speaking, women with a BMI (Body Mass Index) between 20 and 30 are the ones who can expect to most easily get pregnant if all other factors are good.

In addition to overall physical health, high stress levels can also affect a woman's ability to reproduce; women with low stress levels and adequate sleep often conceive more easily. A balanced diet, minimal caffeine and alcohol consumption, and no drug use are all lifestyle factors that can help a woman conceive a baby.

Frequency of Intercourse

How often you have sex, and when it falls within your menstrual cycle, will have a considerable impact on how long it takes to get a positive pregnancy test result. In general, women are fertile for a few days prior to ovulation and a few days following ovulation. For this reason, keeping track of your cycle, estimating when you ovulate, and having sex at least every two days when an ovulation predictor kit indicates you are ovulating can greatly increase your chances of getting pregnant. However, don't try to be too precise since stress levels of both you and your partner may go up as a response, which could decrease your chances of conceiving despite your careful calculations.

Usage of Birth Control

For women who use birth control pills or other hormonal birth control, it is important to consider how long it takes the body to fully eradicate hormonal substances. If you want to get pregnant, you will need to discontinue your use of hormonal birth control at least six months before you want to start trying to conceive. Using condoms during the interim can provide non-hormonal birth control until you start really trying to conceive.

How Long Does Conception Take?

For young women who do not have any of the risk factors above and who have intercourse on a regular basis, especially when timed to coincide with ovulation, conception can occur anywhere from one to 12 months. Doctors recommend trying to conceive for at least a year before becoming concerned and looking into both partners' fertility. If you are over the age of 35, talk with your doctor about whether you should try for 12 months before seeking assistance, but for younger women, give nature the time to run its course.

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5 Factors That Affect How Long Conception Takes