How Soon After Sex Can You Get Pregnant? What You Should Know

A common misconception about pregnancy is that it occurs immediately after having sex. There are actually several factors that determine if and when you conceive. If you have had unprotected sex and are wondering if you might be pregnant, taking a pregnancy test is the first step. Avail NYC offers free pregnancy tests. Here is some information we can share about conception and pregnancy.


Ovulation is the process of the egg moving from the ovaries into one of the fallopian tubes for fertilization. This usually occurs about two weeks after a woman’s last period. Knowing when you are ovulating can help determine your chances of getting pregnant. However, the timing of ovulation varies for each woman and can occur as early as 11 days or as late as 21 days. The highest likelihood of pregnancy actually occurs when you have intercourse a few days before and on the day of ovulation.


During ovulation, an egg must be fertilized within 12-24 hours after being released from the ovary in order to lead to conception. When a sperm meets the egg, it will change the surface of the egg so that other sperm cannot enter. This is what determines the baby’s genetic makeup and sex. Although pregnancy may seem likely after having unprotected sex, only about 100 of the quarter billion sperm that are released make it anywhere near the egg. Sperm can reach the egg within 30 minutes and can also live for up to 3-5 days once inside a woman’s body.


Once the sperm has met the egg, implantation occurs. The fertilized egg starts to divide and grow and travels through the fallopian tube to reach the uterus. It will then attach itself to the lining of the uterus and remain there until the baby is born. Once implanted, the developing egg will start to release hCG. This is the hormone that a pregnancy test will detect and result in a positive reading if pregnant. That is why it is best to wait at least one week after unprotected sex to purchase a pregnancy test.

How Avail NYC Can Help

Facing an unexpected pregnancy can be scary. If you want to confirm whether you are pregnant or not, contact Avail NYC today. We provide free, self-administered pregnancy tests, as well as information that can inform you to make a confident decision about your future. We offer practical support and many other services, all free of cost, for women and couples in New York City.

Make an appointment for a pregnancy test

Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.