How Long Does It Take To Get Pregnant With PCOS?

How long will it take to get pregnant with PCOS?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors:

1. Are you trying to get pregnant naturally? See, can you get pregnant naturally with PCOS?
2. Are you undergoing fertility treatment? Different treatments have different success rates.
3. How old are you? See, what age does fertility go down in women?

The majority of ‘healthy’ couples trying for a baby become pregnant within the first 3 months. If you have PCOS chances are it will take at least 6 months longer again, although you can significantly increase your chance of success by losing weight (if you are overweight) and following a healthy eating plan. If you have not conceived after one year of trying (or within 6 months if you are aged over 30), you should talk to your doctor. He can take a sample of your blood and send it to a lab for fertility testing (hormone levels will be checked); or he will refer you to a fertility clinic for more specialist care. At this point, you will probably be recommended fertility treatment. There are different levels of treatment - at entry level, fertility drugs to induce ovulation are likely to be tried first and if these don't work you can progress to more invasive (and expensive!) methods like IVF treatment. If you are older (approaching 40) and time is a factor then it may be wise to go straight to IVF because it has the highest success rate for older couples.

Fertility Treatment Options

These are the most common fertility treatments used for women with PCOS, and their pregnancy success rates:

Fertility Drugs: The fertility medication clomiphene citrate (usually Clomid) returns ovulation in nearly 85 percent of women with PCOS and has a pregnancy rate of nearly 40 percent. Obese women tend to be less responsive to clomiphene, so losing weight is still an important necessity for fertility.
Gonadotropin/GnRH Injections: Starting with a low daily dose of FSH (37.5 to 50 IU) with a step-up regime - results in an ovulation rate of 70 percent and a pregnancy rate of 30 percent. Downside: GnRH therapy is expensive and needs frequent monitoring.
Metformin Pills: Studies show that metformin (diabetes medication) increases the rate of pregnancy and also decreases the risk of early pregnancy loss.
IVF Treatment: The clinical pregnancy rate associated with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is 30-35 percent and implantation rate is 10 to 15 percent in women with PCOS. See, how many IVF cycles are average before becoming pregnant?

Important: Many women with PCOS report that it is easier to become pregnant second time around, and that their menstruation cycle regulated naturally after pregnancy.

Related Questions
How can I increase my fertility naturally?
Is there a cure for PCOS?
How does a doctor test for infertility in women?

Personal Stories

I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries 5 years ago. At that time I was 30 pounds overweight for my height and I only had periods once or twice a year. I started dieting, followed a Low GI eating plan and began exercising every day and lost the 30 pounds. My periods became more regular arriving every second month and then within a year of trying we conceived. I gave birth to a full-term healthy baby boy. My doctor had told me that if I could get rid of the tummy fat I had, it would fix my insulin resistance and cure any infertility problems. Well, it worked for me!
Catherine, Virginia.

I've had PCOS since my teens but it was only last year, when I turned 30 that I first tried for a baby. I went to a specialist clinic straight away because I assumed there would be difficulties. My doctor immediately put me on Metformin and told me to follow a low carb diet to regularize my blood sugar. I lost 15 pounds in 8 weeks and my periods starting coming more often, but I wasn't ovulating. Then he added Clomid to my prescription, I started ovulating by still no baby. The next month he switched me to Femara and Metformin and I became pregnant. I've just had twins. My advice is, start straight away with a specialist.

Patricia, Oxford.

I've had painful periods since I was 16 and last year I had exploratory laparoscopy and they discovered I had endometriosis implants as well as PCOS. I was diagnosed with a hormone imbalance as well. My doctor put me on the birth control pill (sounds strange I know when you want to get pregnant). He said it would help to balance my hormones. I took the pill in patch form for 3 months and then stopped. Seven months later, I found I was pregnant. My body must have de-stressed and despite the endometriosis and PCOS, relaxed enough to allow pregnancy.
Patty, Colorado.

• Need more information? See: Guide to Infertility and PCOS.
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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