Anne Poliness Fertility Expert


You may be just thinking about starting to try to fall pregnant, already trying or nearly over it because it just isn’t happening fast enough.

Wherever you are on your journey, sometimes a little knowledge on a subject can be useful.

Below I have answered some of the more common questions we receive.

How long should it take to fall pregnant?

It is important for couples to understand that even if they are doing everything right to conceive, it may still take a while to fall pregnant. As a general rule, statistics show that of all females aged under 38, 60% will conceive within six months and 80% within 12 months. By two years, 95% will have conceived. These rates are different for women over 38 as ovarian reserve and egg quality are declining more rapidly.

How should I prepare for pregnancy?

There are a number of lifestyle changes that you can implement to maximise your chances of conception and give your baby the best start in life. When trying to conceive, the reproductive health of both the male and female is equally important as they both contribute towards optimising the chances of pregnancy and in turn a healthy baby. Both partners should ensure they are maintaining a healthy weight by exercising and eating well. Stress levels should be kept low, caffeine and alcohol intake limited and the recommended pre-pregnancy vitamin supplements taken.

When is the best time to conceive each month?

The days leading up to ovulation (when the egg is released from the ovary) are the most fertile ones in your menstrual cycle. You have a greater chance of conceiving if you time having intercourse one to three days before ovulation or every two days around it.

To calculate your “fertile window”, you need to try to determine around what day you ovulate. To do this, you need to know the length of your menstrual cycle (which can vary from 21 to 35 days). Ovulation is approximately 14 days before the onset of a period but can be anywhere from 7 to 17 days before the period starts. Sometimes it can be helpful to use a fertility app, urine hormone kits or saliva hormone kits to try to work out your fertility window.

Download PDFOur Fertility Awareness Calendar can assist you in predicting your most fertile time of the month (ovulation). Download this Fertility Awareness Calendar here.

If your cycles are irregular, or your cycle length varies from month to month, it will be difficult to calculate your ovulation date. Ovulation urine tests may be useful, but you may want to consider seeking further advice from your GP or a fertility specialist for other ovulation signs to look out for.

When should I seek help?

If you have not achieved a pregnancy after a year (or six months if you are over 35) of unprotected intercourse, you should seek medical advice from your GP or a specialist.

There are also other instances where you might want to seek earlier fertility advice. These include early menopause, polycystic ovaries, irregular or non-existent menstruation, a history of endometriosis, when either you are or your partner is a current or past cancer patient, or when the male partner has had a vasectomy.

What can a fertility specialist do to help me?

A fertility specialist will work with you to determine the cause of infertility and the best treatment path for you. Often IVF is not required as there are a number of simpler fertility treatment options that can substantially improve your chances of pregnancy. These include looking at lifestyle factors, timing, ovulation induction (OI)intra-uterine insemination (IUI), surgery, and hormone therapy. IVF treatment is usually a last resort. Importantly, at City Fertility Centre each treatment plan is individually tailored specifically to your needs.

Watch Dr Anne Poliness’ Video for Further Advice