How Long Will It Take Me to Get Pregnant If I Have PCOS?

If you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and you want to get pregnant, you may be wondering how much time it will take you to conceive. It’s a tricky question because there are many variables and few guarantees.

Numerous factors can influence your odds of pregnancy, including the age and general health of not only you but also your partner as also. When you have PCOS, how well you manage your condition also plays a huge role.

An excited couple looking at a pregnancy test
Paul Bradbury / Getty Images 

This article provides a general overview of what to expect if you have PCOs and want to get pregnant. It also offers tips on ways to boost your odds of conceiving and how to know when ovulation is occurring.

How Long It May Take to Get Pregnant

If you are under 35, ovulate regularly, and you and your partner have no other medical conditions that affect your fertility, the likelihood is that pregnancy will occur within a year and probably sooner. This is true whether you have PCOs or not.

If either you or your partner has other medical conditions that affect your fertility, like a low sperm count or endometriosis, it may take longer than a year.

For most females, natural fertility starts to decline by around age 32 and will decline even more substantially by age 37. While some females do conceive naturally well into their 40s, the need for fertility assistance is more likely.

The issue with PCOS, of course, is that hormonal imbalances caused by the disorder can interfere with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries. If you don't ovulate, you cannot get pregnant. In such cases, you would need to speak with a doctor about ways to improve ovulation and your chances of conceiving.

Most experts recommend that you seek treatment if you are not pregnant after one year of trying if under the age of 35. If you are over 35, that number drops to six months.

If you do not get regular periods or have other fertility problems, like endometriosis, seek help right away from a reproductive endocrinologist. 

Recap

PCOS doesn't reduce the odds of conceiving unless you do not ovulate normally or have other risk factors for infertility. If you have abnormal ovulation, your odds of conceiving may be less, but you can work with a fertility specialist to find ways to improve the odds.

Factors That Can Boost Fertility

If you have PCOs and want to boost the chances of pregnancy, adopting a healthy lifestyle is key. This includes:

  • Achieving a healthy weight
  • Quitting cigarettes
  • Cutting back on alcohol
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep

Studies have consistently shown that people with PCOS who live a healthy lifestyle tend to have regular periods and, as a result, higher rates of conception. Even modest weight loss helps.

For those who ovulate normally, having sex during the "fertile window" (five days leading up to and including ovulation) also boosts the chances of conception.

Recap

Quitting cigarettes, losing excess weight, exercising regularly, reducing alcohol, and getting ample sleep increase the odds of normal ovulation and, in terms, your chances of pregnancy if you have PCOS.

How to Detect Ovulation 

If you are trying to conceive and have regular periods, there are several things you can do to get pregnant faster. The most important thing is to make sure you are timing intercourse accurately. In the end, if sperm isn’t meeting an egg at the right time during your cycle, pregnancy cannot occur.

There are several strategies you can use to identify and monitor your fertile window.

Basal Body Temperature

One of the best ways to identify your fertile window is to take your temperature first thing every morning before you even get out of bed. This is referred to as your basal body temperature (BBT).

After several months of charting, you should notice subtle changes in your BBT over the course of your cycle that can be helpful in predicting ​ovulation. After the egg is released, the BBT typically increases to between 97.6 F and 98.6 F.

Following ovulation, a rise in BBT that lasts for 18 or more days may be an early sign of pregnancy.

Ovulation Predictor Kit

Ovulation predictor kits look for a rise in luteinizing hormone (LH). This is the hormone responsible for triggering ovulation. To use the kit, you would urinate on a test stick each morning starting a few days before ovulation is set to occur.

A positive result indicates that ovulation is imminent and that you should start having sex regularly.

As useful as the kits are, they have their limitations in people with PCOS. Because PCOS can sometimes cause persistently high levels of LH, the test may show a false positive reading (meaning that you aren't pregnant even if the test says that you are). For this reason, it is important to speak with your doctor before using an ovulation kit if you have PCOS.

Cervical Mucus Changes

Monitoring your cervical mucus is another way to check for your fertile window. Changes in your cervical mucus can signal impending ovulation.

As ovulation nears, the mucus will go from being thick and dry to being wet, stretchy, and slippery. Many people describe the consistency as being that of raw egg whites. After ovulation, the cervical mucus will go back to being thick and dry.

Recap

You can better improve your odds of conceiving by tracking your fertile window. This includes checking your basal body temperature and changes in cervical mucus. Ovulation predictor kits are also useful but may be less accurate in some people with PCOS, so you should speak with a doctor.

Summary

If you have PCOS, you can still expect to conceive within a year (or even less) as long as you are ovulating normally and have no other risk factors for infertility. If you do, it may take longer or require the input of a fertility specialist.

Arguably, the best ways to boost the odds of normal ovulation—and, in turn, your chances of conceiving—is to make healthy choices. This includes quitting cigarettes, exercising regularly, losing excess weight, cutting back on alcohol, and getting plenty of rest.

It also helps to track your fertile window by monitoring your basal body temperature, checking for changes in your cervical mucus, and using an ovulation predictor kit.

A Word From Verywell

If you have difficulty detecting ovulation on your own, ask your healthcare provider for assistance using a blood test called a day-21 progesterone test and a transvaginal ultrasound which can predict ovulation based on changes in the follicles within the ovaries.

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2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Female age-related fertility decline.

  2. Sharma R, Biedenharn KR, Fedor JM, Agarwal A. Lifestyle factors and reproductive health: taking control of your fertilityReprod Biol Endocrinol. 2013;11:66. doi:10.1186/1477-7827-11-66