Perhaps most of you have wished, imagined, or dreamed of becoming a parent ever since you were young. You got married and now it is time for you to welcome your first child but it does not turn quite well as you expected. In most cases, you do not get pregnant right away on the day you have sex for the very first time, it can take some time after sexual activity to finally conceive.
It takes almost six days for the sperm and ovum (egg) to meet in the fallopian tube and form a fertilized egg. And once they meet, the fertilized egg travels through the fallopian tube and it takes around 6 to 12 days to implant itself completely in the lining of the uterus. Subsequently, pregnancy begins during the implantation of the egg, when various hormones get released in a female body for supporting the pregnancy.
You cannot predict as to how soon after sex will you be able to conceive because it is different for each women. Factors like age, general and reproductive health, and how frequently you have sex can affect your chances of getting pregnant. Some women conceive quickly, while others take longer. Although it can be frustrating but it is quite normal.
How Does The Female Reproductive System Work?
The female reproductive organs comprises of vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Each month inside your ovaries, a group of eggs starts growing in small, fluid-filled sacs called follicles. Eventually, one of the eggs becomes mature and erupts from the follicle. It usually happens about 14 days before your next menstrual period. This egg thus released is available for fertilization for up to 12 to 24 hours.
Concurrently, when the matured egg is released from the follicle, the follicle develops into corpus luteum which releases a hormone that helps thicken the lining of your uterus. Thus, the uterus prepares itself to receive a fertilized egg. The endometrium (lining of the uterus) becomes thick and spongy for carrying embryo. It forms as a cushion for nourishing the embryo in case if the fertilization takes place.
Further, if the egg does not become fertilized in its way to the uterus while traveling down the fallopian tube, the lining that formed for supporting the embryo breaks, menstruation takes place and in this way the egg sheds off from the body. Shedding of an unfertilized egg causes the discharge of blood and mucus from your vagina. The menstrual cycle can last anywhere from 3 to 8 days until all the debris of endometrium along with blood is discharged.
What Is Ovulation?
The process in which a mature egg is released from the ovary is called as ovulation. After it is released, it moves down the fallopian tube and stays there for 12 to 24 hours, where it can be easily fertilized. In addition, sperm can live inside the female reproductive tract as long as five days after sexual intercourse under favorable conditions.
The period of ovulation typically occurs about 14 days before the start of the next menstrual period in an average 28-day menstrual cycle. However, the cycle length associated with each person can be different as well as the duration of ovulation and the start of the next menstrual period may vary.
The period of ovulation is considered to be the most fertile and if you are willing to conceive can keep a track on the dates occurring almost 14 days before your next period.
Process Of Conception
The action of fertilization of an egg by the sperm is known as conception. It can take place as soon as three minutes after intercourse or it might take up to 5 days. Further, implantation happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall which usually takes 6 to 12 days which means it can happen anywhere around 5 to 15 days after you had sex.
What Are The Most Fertile Days?
You are most fertile at the time of ovulation, which usually occurs around 12 to 14 days before the start of your next period. This is the most favorable time of the month when you are most likely to become pregnant.
Delays In Getting Pregnant
Couples try to indulge in sexual activity every other day in hopes of conceiving, however there might be some underlying causes that they tend to ignore, let us have a look at them one by one:
- Age-related infertility In Men And Women
A woman’s peak reproductive years are between the teens and late 20s. After the age of 35, it can take longer to get pregnant as the ability to conceive starts to decline. Many women in their 30s may still get regular periods, but age impacts the quality and quantity of their eggs. By 45, fertility declines to an extent that getting pregnant naturally is unlikely for most women.
In addition, men after age 40 may also face problems conceiving. Sexual problems like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, etc. can also cause delays in getting pregnant.
- No Ovulation
You would not be able to conceive if you are not ovulating. Ovulation problems account for about 25% of female infertility cases. Anovulation is a common of infertility in women and it can be a result of many conditions. One of the possible causes of anovulation is Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Other causes include primary ovarian insufficiency, thyroid dysfunction, being overweight or underweight, and excessive exercising.
Most of them facing ovulation difficulties have irregular periods which does not guarantee that ovulation is occurring normally.
- Problems with fallopian tubes
The fallopian tubes are the pathway between the ovaries and the uterus. Women may experience blocked fallopian tubes, uterine abnormalities, or endometriosis. Women with blocked tubes experience pelvic pain, many others have no symptoms. Only fertility testing can determine if your tubes are open.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus called the endometrium grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining your pelvis.
Endometriosis can cause pain, especially during menstrual periods. Fertility problems also may develop. Thankfully, effective treatments are available.
- Medical Conditions
Underlying medical conditions can also contribute to male and female infertility. For instance, a thyroid imbalance or undiagnosed diabetes can cause infertility. Some autoimmune diseases, like lupus, can cause infertility, as well. While mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are also associated with infertility.
In addition, an undiagnosed sexually transmitted infection (STI) can cause infertility. Note that you may not have any symptoms of an STI but still have one.
- Medication side effects
Certain prescription medications are known to impact fertility. Some antidepressants are also responsible for making it harder to get pregnant. If it is bothering you too much you need to consult a healthcare provider that can help you by prescribing some other medication. Or they can suggest a different type of treatment to reassure you that the medication is not causing interference in conception.
The majority of people get successful with conception naturally if they keep trying for 6 to 12 months while some of them might face more difficulty getting pregnant. There are a variety of factors responsible for delaying pregnancy. However, if it is taking more than a year and causing you to worry, it is better to consult a healthcare professional that can examine your condition and suggest an appropriate solution.