Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
If you and your partner have reached the time in your life where you'd like to start a family or your own, or maybe you're only curious about your fertility status, it's likely that you've discovered that getting pregnant isn't always as simple as many people believe with pregnancy rates of just 30% within the first month of trying.
Many factors can affect your fertility, such as your overall health, medications you're taking, nutritional status, and underlying health conditions. However, if you want to get insight into your fertility status, the most reliable way to do this is with a fertility test.
In this article, we shall cover the following points:
- How Do Fertility Tests Work?
- How Do Women Check Fertility?
- Ovarian Reserve Test
- Progesterone Ovulation Test
- Female Hormone Test
- How Does A Man Check His Fertility?
- How Semen Analysis Works
How Do Fertility Tests Work?
Most fertility tests involve reviewing a semen sample for men and hormone levels and ovulation for women.
There are more in-depth tests that can be run by a specialist for both women and men if the initial results show there are no problems, as other underlying conditions could be the cause of infertility.
When women are born, they are also born with between one to two million eggs, known as primary oocytes, which means that as a woman ages, so do her eggs. Once a woman reaches puberty and begins her menstrual cycle, the number of eggs in a woman's ovaries continuously declines.
Women are often most fertile between the ages of 18 to 24, and from the ages of 32, a woman's chance of becoming pregnant drops by half. The quantity of the eggs doesn't directly affect fertility; the ages and quality of the eggs will determine how difficult it is for a woman to get pregnant.
Unlike women, men are not born with their sperm ready. Instead, sperm production begins during puberty and is stored in the testicles.
Most men produce billions of sperm during their lifetimes, and only one of them is needed to fertilize an egg. However, the quality of the sperm and the egg it fuses with is crucial in determining whether the pregnancy will be successful or not.
How Do Women Check Fertility?
However, due to medical advancements and today's technology, it's possible to take a fertility test from the comfort of your own home.
Depending on the tests your choose, you will be able to get a better idea of how many eggs you have left, a general overview of your hormonal health, or whether you're are ovulating correctly.
Ovarian Reserve Test
An ovarian reserve test measures the anti-mullerian hormone in your blood which can offer insight into how many eggs you may have left.
The anti-mullerian hormone is secreted by cells in the ovarian follicles, and as we age, the level of anti-mullerian hormone in your blood begins to decline. Testing your anti-mullerian hormone indicates how many eggs you have left and can help to identify your fertility potential.
If your anti-mullerian hormone levels are low for your age, it may mean that you will find it more challenging to become pregnant.
This test is also useful if you are considering IVF as it can give you a better understanding of how well you will respond to the treatment.
Progesterone Ovulation Test
The progesterone ovulation test is used to measure the level of progesterone in your blood on the 21st day of your cycle; this test is essential for knowing exactly when you are ovulating.
Progesterone is the hormone that prepares the uterus for the implantation of a fertilized egg.
The test can determine when the right time to try for a baby is as high levels of this hormone indicate a greater chance of a successful pregnancy. Following the implantation, progesterone maintains the uterine lining during pregnancy.
Female Hormone Test
Taking a female hormone test offers a comprehensive overview of your fertility by measuring the key hormones and can help to rule out any hormonal disorders.
This test is taken on the third day of your menstrual cycle. It is recommended that you stop taking any hormonal contraceptives when you decide to administer this test, as it will offer a clearer picture of your hormone levels.
How Does A Man Check His Fertility?
When it comes to checking a man's fertility, the first step is to analyze a sperm sample, which can be done either at home or through your doctors.
Good quality at-home kits will provide you with a reliable answer for if your sperm count is normal, low, or extremely low, which will help you plan your next steps.
If your sperm count is normal and you're still having trouble conceiving with your partner suffering no infertility problems, it's time to consider further testing to ensure that there are no other factors causing the challenges you're facing.
How Semen Analysis Works
A semen sample can be in two different ways; ejaculation into a container or via a special condom.
The most common way of taking a sample is to ejaculate into a container at your doctor's office; however, this is against many religions, which is why some people need the option of a special condom that collects the sperm during intercourse.
Once you have given your sample, you may be asked to provide another for comparison as sperm counts can fluctuate, and multiple samples will provide the clinician with better insight into your fertility.
When analyzing your sample, or samples, these are the key factors that your doctor is looking for:
- Signs of infection
- Volume of semen
- Sperm concentration
- The vitality of the sperm
- Motility of the sperm
- Morphology of the sperm
In some cases, sperm cells pass the standard medical tests for fertility, but the patient is still having trouble starting a family.
This could be a sign of a condition called normozoospermic infertility, which means that the sperm cells are infertile.
In order to test for this condition, you will be asked to provide a urine sample which involves using a cleaning wipe around your urethra before you give your sample.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to understand your fertility status better, but there are also many ways you can improve your fertility naturally.
Fertiligy is a natural solution with a unique formula containing a selection of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that can boost your body's production of sex hormones while giving you more energy.