Although people get pregnant by accident all the time – about half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned – the reality of conceiving isn't as easy as many women would like to believe it is. When you consider everything that must go right for sperm to reach an egg and for that egg to successfully implant in the uterus, it seems like a miracle that anyone ever manages to conceive at all! If you're trying to become parents, here are a few statistics to help you understand what's normal when you're attempting to conceive.
In order for a woman to become pregnant, sperm must reach and penetrate an egg. After a woman ovulates – which happens once a month – the egg only survives for 12 to 24 hours, meaning there's a window of less than a single day in which a woman can successfully conceive. Luckily, sperm can live for several days, so even if you and your husband don't do the deed on the day you ovulate, you could still become pregnant.
The best way to up your chances of conceiving is to be aware of your body's cycles. The better you know your body, the more likely you'll be to know when you're ovulating – and when you have the best chance of becoming pregnant.
Just 25 percent of couples who are actively trying to conceive will become pregnant during the first cycle. However, 60 percent will conceive within six months, 75 percent will become parents-to-be in nine months and 90 percent will become pregnant before a year and a half is up. It it takes you longer than 18 months to conceive, it may be time to see a fertility specialist.