Researchers have devised a simple mathematical formula to help couples work out their chances of becoming pregnant naturally, and judge when is the right time to seek medical advice.
The formula, which was worked out using existing data from previous studies on pregnancy rates, is based on the age of the woman and how long the couple have been trying to conceive, reports The Telegraph.
Researchers believe it could be added to an online calculator so that couples could calculate their chance of pregnancy at home, and decide whether to seek advice.
For example, when a woman is 35 the model predicts that after 6 months of trying the likelihood of pregnancy drops below 10%, compared to a 25 year old woman whose chances drop 10% after 13 periods.
These findings highlight that women in their mid-thirties could benefit from medical help sooner, rather than trying to conceive naturally for a year, as doctors most commonly advise.
“People expect to get pregnant when they want to, so finding out that it isn’t happening can be a shock,” said Professor Geraldine Hartshore, who co-wrote the study.
“Approaching a doctor about such a personal matter is daunting, so knowing when is the right time to start investigations would be a useful step forward,” she added.