Getting pregnant > Trying to conceive > Getting pregnant: your questions > How long should we try for a baby before seeing our GP?

How long should we try for a baby before seeing our GP?

We look at how long you should wait before seeing your doctor if it's taking you longer than expected to get pregnant.
Frustrating as it may seem, for some couples conceiving a baby is something that takes time and as the months roll by without a positive pregnancy test you can begin to wander how long you should leave it before seeking further help.

How long should we wait?

It's generally recommended that you wait until you've been having regular unprotected sex (this means roughly 2 - 3 times a week) for a year before you visit your doctor for further investigation. While this may seem a long time, over 80% of couples conceive naturally within 12 months of actively trying for a baby and 95% conceive within 2 years, so getting pregnant can sometimes take a little longer than expected even though there is nothing wrong.

However, the one year wait isn't a definitive rule as every couple are different. If you or your partner have reason to believe that there may be an underlying fertility issue that's preventing you from conceiving you should see your doctor sooner.

Additionally, if you're aged 35 or over it's recommended that you see your doctor after 6 months of actively trying with no success. This is simply because female fertility begins to decline after this age and by seeking help earlier the investigatory process is set in motion so that if there is an issue it can be addressed as soon as possible.

There are other circumstances which can mean you should wait less than a year before seeking advice from your doctor, these include:
  • Irregular periods or menstrual cycles that consistently span less than 21 days or more than 35 days

  • Ovulation tests consistently failing to detect ovulation

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or any infection of the pelvic area.

  • Recurrent miscarriages

  • Previous ectopic pregnancies

  • Endometriosis or fibroids

  • A history of STIs such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea

  • Problems with keeping an erection or premature ejaculation

  • A job that exposes you to radiation or potentially toxic chemicals

  • Chronic illness such as cancer or diabetes

  • If you are significantly under or overweight

  • If you smoke
What next?

If you've been trying to get pregnant for more than a year of have reason to suspect that you or your partner may have issues with fertility then you should book in to see your GP. It's best to attend the appointment as a couple as your doctor will want to ask you both questions about your lifestyle, general health and medical history.

Your doctor is then likely to suggest some basic tests to monitor ovulation and sperm count and also check for hormonal issues that may make it difficult to conceive (such as PCOS). It's likely that your doctor will also recommend tests to check for STIs known to cause problems with fertility.

If these initial test results come back clear your doctor may suggest that you continue to try conceiving naturally for a little longer before taking the investigation further. Alternatively, if there does appear to be an issue that's preventing you from conceiving, your doctor will refer you on to your local specialist fertility unit.

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Hi i am 19 and been with my fiance for 2 years now and we lost a baby last septemper, we have been trying ever since, i really want to have a baby but i just think there is something wrong
by L2654 18th May 2010, 4:44pm
I got married in 2007 and have been trying for a baby since then. I have been seen by my doctor with no more information than I already knew until today. I have just been told that I have high levels of prolactin. I have read up on this and it seems that this can cause infertility problems. I am so glad to have an answer and hopefully will be able to get this problem sorted and start a family with my husband.
by KWILSON 3rd Feb 2010, 9:49am
I had the same problem with my GP, he was adamant there was nothing wrong with me when I was in extreme pain. He then said I had a water infection.
I fell pregnant and at 17 weeks I miscarried. At the ultrasound scan they detected a massive cyst, which was 18cm by 13cm. I had an operation which they also removed my right fallopian tube.
My husband and I are finding it hard to conceive. We are being refused fertility treatment now even though it was their medical negligence. There is no way we could afford the cost of IVF :-( dont know what to do now.. Please help !!!!!
by rhiannond 27th Jan 2010, 9:32am
Hi, I'm 31 years old and have a 3 year old daughter from a previous relationship. My husband and I have been trying for a baby for three months now but nothing's happening. Has anyone else had trouble conceiving their second child? It's quite upsetting
by Zoe2 18th Nov 2009, 9:29am
hy im 26 and m married in 2007 ,i tried for a baby for last 8 months but no result found so for that im very depressed so tell me what to do
by rima 10th Nov 2009, 1:11pm
Hi im 21 and have always suspected I have endometriosis, I have all the symptoms but my previous Doctor says that I overexagerate. It makes me so angry that no one will listen! the pain gets so bad sometimes that I cant walk because it makes my legs ache. Me and my boyfriend have been tring for a baby for about 4/5 months now with no success. I have changed my Doctor and am hoping that he will listen to my concerns.

I understand the comment added by 'dreamsofbabies' some of my friends have had unplanned pregnancies and dont want a baby, but I am tying to get pregnant and can't! its so upestting when they moan.
Wish me luck :)
by kylie88 19th Sep 2009, 5:44pm
we r so ready for a baby but it seemes like the sperm won't stay n me...then I keep hearing of this ovulation time and I try to plan it round them and nothing but I see sooo many young women who have had babie or r having them and it makes me so mad like that should be me n my baby
by dreamsofbabies 16th Jun 2009, 11:56am
by ShareenElliisBabyx 8th Jun 2009, 9:58am
I was pregnant last year and lost the baby at 16 weeks due to Turner syndrome.(feb 2008)
I am now with another partner and have been trying for a baby since August 2008 and it is April 2009 now.
I am having no luck.
What's more my periods seem to have recently changed to a 24 day cycle.(last 3 now)
I have no idea when i'm ovulating as there is no sign of any cervical mucus though my cycle.
I seem to have an excess of white discharge for the entire cycle.
Could i have a hormone diffissioancy? because I lost the other baby?
What is going on? Will i ever get to be a mum?
by Melza 14th Apr 2009, 12:55pm
im so depressed i wanna cry all the time. Help me
by carlyjane 19th Jan 2009, 9:56am
What if your having issues staying pregnant what should we do then? I have had a tubal, miscarrage after having an IUD removed could this have contributed to staying pregnant.
by jenniferHELP 16th Sep 2008, 9:08am
hi it took me 10 years to have my first child i had what u call unexplained fertility then by chance i spoke to a midwife who came into my work she said sometimes its just a case of doing it at the wrong time she said u know when u r ovulating when u have a clear like jelly dishcharge wich i got and this is normally the time when u dont want to have sex,guess what 3 months later i was pregnant 7 years later i had another daughter following the same advice so if it worked for me u have nothing to lose i would be interested to know if any1 else have did this.
by jackie73 17th Mar 2008, 10:25am