Practical Parenting Fertility Survey – the results

What’s the perfect age to have a child? What would you do if you had trouble conceiving? We take a look at what you said in our online fertility survey.

Fertility and pregnancy

We asked everything from the time it took you to conceive, to your fears about you and your partner’s fertility levels. Your insightful answers have helped give us a real picture of what’s on your mind – take a look at what you and your fellow parents and parents-to-be said…


Time taken to conceive

*45% took less than 3 months
*12% took between 4 – 6 months
*8% took more than 6 months, but less than a year
*6% took 1-2 years
*12% took more than 2 years
*For 17% of you, your pregnancy was unplanned

Number of miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies

*70% have never had a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy
*21% have had one miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy
*9% have had two or more miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies

The risk of smoking was widely acknowledged with 40% of the respondents who smoked experiencing one or more miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies. This compares to 26 per cent for couples where neither of the partners smoked.

Perfect age to have first child

*79% believe under 30 is the perfect age
*16% believe 30-32 is the perfect age
*5% believe 33 and over is the perfect age

Worries about your fertility levels

*42% of you worry about your fertility levels

Worries about your partner’s fertility levels

*30% of you worry about your partner’s fertility levels

Diet and chances of conceiving

*70% feel being overweight hampers the chances of conceiving, and 45% feel being underweight is just as a big a problem
*64% feel an unhealthy diet hampers conception
*76% would change your diet to boost your chances of conceiving, and 53% would make your partner change his too

Alcohol and chances of conceiving

*66% feel drinking too much alcohol can hamper your chances of conceiving
*70% would cut out alcohol, and 52% would make your partner cut out alcohol as well to boost your chances

Smoking and chances of conceiving

*63% feel smoking can hamper the chances of conceiving.
*74% of you who smoke would give up to boost your chances, and of those of you with a partner who smokes 69% said you’d do your utmost to make him give up

A stressful job and chances of conceiving

* 60% feel a stressful job can hamper your chances of conceiving. 27% of you would give up a stressful job to increase your chances

Other factors hampering chances of conceiving

*46% feel state of mind can hamper chances of conceiving
*15% feel pollution plays a role
*9% feel city living can hamper your conception chances

Other methods to boost chances of conceiving

*71% would have sex more often
*51% would take herbal/vitamin supplements
*30% would try alternative therapies like acupuncture
*28% would take hormone drugs

Length of time spent trying to conceive before seeing a specialist

*51% would see a doctor or specialist if you hadn’t conceived within a year
*23% would try for 13-16 months, and then see a doctor or specialist
*19% would try for 17 months to 2 years, and then go to a doctor or specialist
*Only 7% would try for more than 2 years before seeing a doctor or specialist

Your partner’s feelings about seeing a doctor or specialist

*85% feel your partner would be happy to see a doctor or specialist if you were having problems conceiving

Options to consider if unable to conceive naturally

*77% would consider IVF, using your own egg and sperm, but only 16% would consider IVF with a donor egg and donor sperm
*17% would give up trying to conceive altogether
*9% would consider surrogacy
*When comes to adoption, 40% would consider it an option


Susie Boone, Editor of Practical Parenting says, “Thanks to everyone who contributed to our Fertility survey. It’s given us some fascinating results and a great insight into the issues facing women who want to start a family. What is really clear is that fear of not being able to conceive is a major concern for women today.

“There are frequent reports in the media revealing the latest lifestyle factor to be linked to problems with getting pregnant. Obesity certainly has a negative affect on fertility and pregnancy, and with recent proposals suggesting that obese women should not get IVF on the NHS, our survey confirms that women are now very concerned that they may be too overweight to have a baby.

“While our survey shows that 75% of you are prepared to change your diet and 70% are willing to give up alcohol to boost your chances of conceiving, obesity rates are still rocketing – with 23% of women in the UK now recognised as obese and 33% as overweight.

“Fertility rates, on the other hand, continue to fall, and one in 7 now experience problems with conceiving naturally. Some researchers even suggest that by 2015 this may double so that one in 3 couples in Europe could be seeking fertility treatment.

“This would mean a radical rethink for huge numbers of people who grow up assuming that one day they will have their own children. Clearly this is an enormous issue facing women of all ages and one we need to think about carefully.”

Five ways to boost your fertility

1. Stop smoking and cut down on the booze. Smoking is bad news right through the baby making process, from trying to conceive, to low birth weight problems, so it really is best to give it up altogether. Alcohol also affects fertility and experts advise you limit your intake to no more than a few units a week to increase your chances.

2. Restock your fridge. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, foods rich in iron, calcium and folic acid, and drink at least eight glasses of water or herbal teas a day to help flush out toxins. Feed your partner plenty of zinc-rich foods (lamb, oysters, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, crabmeat) to keep his sperm fighting fit.

3. Take pre-natal multivitamin supplements, with folic acid. Not only will they help ensure your body is in optimum condition at the time of conception, recent research from Harvard Medical School has shown that supplements containing folic acid can help protect against failure to ovulate.

4. Check your weight. While being overweight can hinder your chances of conception and staying pregnant, so can being too thin. Aim for a body mass index (BMI) of between 20 and 30.

5. Get to know your cycle. Timing sex around the time you ovulate is key to getting pregnant, so learn how to read your body’s signs.


Click to our Conceiving section to find out more…

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