Normal Fertility

The bottom line is that fertilization, pregnancy and a successful birth are not as easy as many people think. In couples under age 38 who have no known fertility problems and who are trying to get pregnant, only 15-20% will conceive in any given menstrual cycle. Only about 70% of these couples will successfully achieve a pregnancy after trying for six months.

At one year, the percentage increases to about 85%. A woman’s age is the single most important factor in assessing whether a couple will be successful in their efforts to have a baby. As a woman gets older, she experiences a decline in egg quality and in the number of eggs she has available. At menopause, a woman’s ovaries stop functioning altogether. However, the ability to reproduce is essentially lost several years before menopause due to the natural decline in egg quality.

As a result, couples with difficulty conceiving should seek prompt, appropriate treatment. In general, if the woman is under 35 years old, it is recommended that a couple seek treatment after one year of trying to achieve a pregnancy without success. In couples where the woman is over the age of 35, it is suggested that couples seek treatment after six months of unprotected intercourse that does not result in a pregnancy.