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Home > Learn > Getting Pregnant > >What Are The Chances of Getting Pregnant By Age?

What Are The Chances of Getting Pregnant By Age?

Jan 27, 23 11 min

Understanding your chances of getting pregnant during ovulation by age can help shape your fertility journey. Read on to learn how Natalist can help.

By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

If you have a uterus, chances are you’ve heard the term “biological clock” or another variation, no matter how old you are. There’s a lot of pressure on women to think about conceiving as early as possible, sometimes making it feel like you’re running out of time. While some parts of our fertility are impacted by age, the chances of getting pregnant in your 30’s and early 40’s are (hopefully) not as low as you’d think. 

What Is The Fertile Window?

The six-day period leading up to and including ovulation is known as the fertile window. [1] This is the period of time when the chances of conceiving are the highest. If you’re trying to conceive (TTC), the The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends that you have sex daily or every other day during the fertile window in order to optimize your chances of conceiving. [2] Research shows that women who track their fertile window conceived more quickly than those who did not. In fact, a study found that timed sexual intercourse resulted in pregnancy after just one menstrual cycle for 38% of participating couples! If you're looking to determine your precise ovulation period, you might find our ovulation window calculator helpful for more accurate predictions. [3-4] 

Natalist call to action featuring ovulation tracker and calculator

Fertility and Age

Even if you know all about the fertile window and how to track ovulation, aging does make it harder to get pregnant. [5] We are born with all the eggs we will ever have, meaning that the quantity does start to decline over time and there’s no way to get those eggs back. Research shows that age and ovulation are correlated, with ovarian interaction becoming less pronounced in older age and follicular phase lengths becoming shorter in some circumstances. [6] An animal study also concluded that older mice were more likely to experience failed ovulation than younger mice. [7]

To be clear, you can be fertile and have a healthy pregnancy in your late 30’s and early 40’s, but there is an increased risk of pregnancy complications and infertility. With aging comes other medical conditions like high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, etc. which can impact reproductive health outcomes. [8] Potential complications include:

  • Anovulation
  • Perimenopause
  • Birth defects
  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • C-section delivery

To stay on top of these added risks, be sure to find a healthcare provider you trust and be sure to go for regular check-ups, prioritize your overall health, and take a prenatal multivitamin!

What Are The Odds of Getting Pregnant During Ovulation By Age?

Everyone is different, so exact chances of conceiving will vary from person to person. In order to give a general overview of what your chances might be, I’ve broken down the results from a large 2017 study focused on age and fecundability (the probability of conceiving during a menstrual cycle). [9] Researchers included couples that had no history of female or male infertility and were not using any fertility treatments or medications. This is what they found [9]:

Age range 

Chances of conceiving after six cycles

Chances of conceiving after 12 cycles

21 to 24

56.8%

70.8%

25 to 27

59%

79.3%

28 to 30

62%

77.9%

31 to 33

60.7%

76.6%

34 to 36

55.9%

74.8%

37 to 39

46.3%

67.4%

40 to 45

27.6%

55.5%

We can see that the chances of conceiving start to decrease with age, with a more noticeable dip after ages 34-36. This study did not include the chances for those with a history of infertility or those utilizing medical assistance for trying to conceive (TTC), so your individual chances could vary greatly from this data. There are a lot of options, like egg freezing, IVF, IUI, etc. that you may be able to pursue if you want to increase your chances of getting pregnant now or in the future. 

What Age Has The Highest Chance of Getting Pregnant? 

According to the previously mentioned study, people with no known history of infertility and attempting to conceive without medical assistance are most likely to get pregnant around ages 28 to 30 after six cycles. [9] After twelve cycles, those aged 25 to 27 had the highest chance of getting pregnant. [9] Keep in mind that there are many factors that can play a role in conceiving and fertility, so exact chances can differ greatly. 

How to Encourage Ovulation 

If you’re concerned about ovulation, there are some things you can do to encourage regular menstrual cycles and increase your chances of successful ovulation. 

Ovulation Induction

For those TTC and having trouble with ovulation or menstrual cycle irregularity, ovulation induction may be a helpful and noninvasive fertility treatment. Inducing ovulation can be done using oral medications (clomiphene citrate or letrozole) that help the body produce necessary hormones for developing a mature egg. There is also a chance that multiple eggs could be released in one month, further increasing the chances of conception. Read the complete guide on ovulation induction for more information. 

Supplements to Support Ovulation

There are many different supplements on the market that have been shown to improve cycle regularity and support ovarian health. 

Myo-inositol is a great example of a naturally occuring vitamin that has proven beneficial effects on ovarian function, including those with infrequent menstrual periods and polycystic ovaries. [10] Research shows that women who take inositol ovulate more frequently than those that do not. [10] Inositol in combination with folic acid was also shown to promote ovulation in women with fertility issues. [11] 

CoQ10 is another natural antioxidant that is recommended for enhanced egg quality and embryo quality, common problems for women over 35. [12] A meta analysis also found that CoQ10 supplementation improved IVF regimes and reduced the amount of injections needed for fertility treatments. [12] 

Natalist call to action featuring Inositol Plus supplement for hormone balance

How to Improve Chances of Pregnancy

If you’re hoping to conceive soon, you’ll want to prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy and do as much as you can to improve your chances. Let’s look at some potential methods for helping you conceive. 

Fertility Lube

There are lubricants that have been cleared by the FDA and specifically made to support fertility. TTC lubricants should be pH balanced, made without parabens, water based, and compatible with sperm, like The Lube. Research shows that using fertility lube when having sex, especially around ovulation, can support sperm motility and vitality while protecting against DNA fragmentation. [13-14] 

Ovulation and Pregnancy Tests

Having ovulation and pregnancy tests on hand can help you maximize your chances of getting pregnant and supporting a pregnancy early on. Now that we’ve talked more about how to support ovulation and cycle regularity, you can put your work to the test by tracking ovulation and capitalizing on your fertile window! Early result pregnancy tests can show results up to five days before your missed period, so you know you’re getting reliable, fast, results. 

Nutrition

When you’re pregnant, your body is in high demand for all kinds of nutrients, and it’s important that you begin fueling your body with these as soon as you start planning or trying for a baby.  A healthy, balanced diet should include lots of fruits and veggies, protein, and whole grains. [15] It’s also recommended that anyone TTC begin taking a prenatal vitamin early on. Specific vitamins like folate, DHA, iron, and others, play a huge role in fetal development in the early stages of pregnancy. [15] Taking a multivitamin packed with the essential nutrients is a great way to support these needs. Read more about what supplements to take when TTC!

Male Fertility

Female fertility is only half of the equation. Sperm health and male fertility are also vital for pregnancy. If applicable, you may want to encourage your partner to take a male prenatal vitamin or other supplements encouraged for male fertility. Research shows that CoQ10 is helpful for increasing sperm concentration, protecting sperm from damage, and improving fertilization rates. [16-17] Vitamin D has also been shown to improve sperm parameters, like semen quality and sperm motility. [18]

Before you begin TTC, you should have a preconception visit where you and your healthcare provider come up with a plan and timeline. If you’re under 35, you may be encouraged to try for a year before considering a fertility specialist. For those older than 35, that period may be closer to six months. The path to pregnancy looks different for everyone, regardless of age. 

Key Takeaways

  • Women who track ovulation and have timed intercourse during the fertile window are likely to conceive more quickly than those that do not.
  • Aging impacts fertility and pregnancy due to egg quality declining, hormones shifting, and menopause approaching. 
  • The chances of conceiving by age tend to slowly decrease as age increases, with a noticeable dip after age 35. 
  • Chances of conceiving from ages 35- 40 still average around 50% after six cycles of TTC, and even higher after 12 months of TTC. 
  • Ovulation induction and supplements may be beneficial for improving your chances of ovulating regularly. Ask your healthcare provider about what makes sense for your goals.
  • Pregnancy chances may be improved by using fertility lube, tracking ovulation, and prioritizing nutrition and prenatal vitamins. 

 

Sources:

  1. Ecochard R, Duterque O, Leiva R, Bouchard T, Vigil P. Self-identification of the clinical fertile window and the ovulation period. Fertil Steril. 2015;103(5):1319-25.e3. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.01.031
  2. Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in collaboration with the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Optimizing natural fertility: a committee opinion. Fertil Steril. 2017;107(1):52-58. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.09.029
  3. Stanford JB, Willis SK, Hatch EE, Rothman KJ, Wise LA. Fecundability in relation to use of fertility awareness indicators in a North American preconception cohort study. Fertil Steril. 2019;112(5):892-899. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2019.06.036
  4. Gnoth C, Godehardt D, Godehardt E, Frank-Herrmann P, Freundl G. Time to pregnancy: results of the German prospective study and impact on the management of infertility. Hum Reprod. 2003;18(9):1959-1966. doi:10.1093/humrep/deg366
  5. Having a Baby After Age 35: How Aging Affects Fertility and Pregnancy. FAQ060. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.. February 2023. URL
  6. Fukuda M, Fukuda K, Andersen CY, Byskov AG. Characteristics of human ovulation in natural cycles correlated with age and achievement of pregnancy. Hum Reprod. 2001;16(12):2501-2507. doi:10.1093/humrep/16.12.2501
  7. Mara JN, Zhou LT, Larmore M, et al. Ovulation and ovarian wound healing are impaired with advanced reproductive age. Aging (Albany NY). 2020;12(10):9686-9713. doi:10.18632/aging.103237
  8. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Gynecologic Practice and Practice Committee. Female age-related fertility decline. Committee Opinion No. 589. Fertil Steril. 2014;101(3):633-634. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.12.032
  9. Wesselink AK, Rothman KJ, Hatch EE, Mikkelsen EM, Sørensen HT, Wise LA. Age and fecundability in a North American preconception cohort study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017;217(6):667.e1-667.e8. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2017.09.002
  10. Gerli S, Mignosa M, Di Renzo GC. Effects of inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS: a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2003;7(6):151-159.
  11. Angela Sacchinelli, Roberta Venturella, Daniela Lico, Annalisa Di Cello, Antonella Lucia, Erika Rania, Roberto Cirillo, Fulvio Zullo, "The Efficacy of Inositol and N-Acetyl Cysteine Administration (Ovaric HP) in Improving the Ovarian Function in Infertile Women with PCOS with or without Insulin Resistance", Obstetrics and Gynecology International, vol. 2014, Article ID 141020, 5 pages, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/141020
  12. Zhang Y, Zhang C, Shu J, et al. Adjuvant treatment strategies in ovarian stimulation for poor responders undergoing IVF: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. Hum Reprod Update. 2020;26(2):247-263. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmz046
  13. Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Practice Committee of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Electronic address: asrm@asrm.org. Optimizing natural fertility: a committee opinion. Fertil Steril. 2022;117(1):53-63. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2021.10.007
  14. Agarwal A, Deepinder F, Cocuzza M, Short RA, Evenson DP. Effect of vaginal lubricants on sperm motility and chromatin integrity: a prospective comparative study. Fertil Steril. 2008;89(2):375-379. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.02.050
  15. Nutrition During Pregnancy. FAQ001. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. June 2023. URL
  16. Salas-Huetos A, Rosique-Esteban N, Becerra-Tomás N, Vizmanos B, Bulló M, Salas-Salvadó J. The Effect of Nutrients and Dietary Supplements on Sperm Quality Parameters: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Adv Nutr. 2018;9(6):833-848. doi:10.1093/advances/nmy057
  17. Lewin A, Lavon H. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on sperm motility and function. Mol Aspects Med. 1997;18 Suppl:S213-S219. doi:10.1016/s0098-2997(97)00036-8
  18. Salas-Huetos A, Bulló M, Salas-Salvadó J. Dietary patterns, foods and nutrients in male fertility parameters and fecundability: a systematic review of observational studies. Hum Reprod Update. 2017;23(4):371-389. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmx006

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