Not all couples can conceive naturally and quickly. In these cases, it is important to check their fertility. There are various ways both males and females can check their fertility today. This can be achieved either at home through fertility testing kits, or done medically in a doctor’s facility or fertility clinic. In this article, learn how individuals can check their fertility.
When can I check my fertility?
If you have had regular sexual intercourse with a partner and have not been able to conceive, then it may be helpful to check your fertility status. Doctors recommend checking both partners' fertility status if you are under 35 and have had regular sex for 12 months with no contraception and have not conceived.
If you are aged over 35, the same should be checked after 6 months of regular sex with your partner with no contraception. It is important that both partners be tested, as it could be either party that is infertile.
How to check your fertility
It is advised that if you believe you are infertile and have had trouble conceiving in the last 12 months, then book an appointment with your GP.
For females over the age of 36, it is suggested that they make an appointment as soon as they can. Similarly, any females who may have undergone cancer treatment, may have an STI (sexually transmitted infection) or there are any concerns about their fertility.
The GP will do an assessment of several things that might be affecting your fertility and give advice on the next steps. It is also important that both partners visit the doctor together to exclude all infertility causes.
What will happen during the initial fertility check?
The GP will have to get a detailed history of you and your partner to be able to determine the probable cause of infertility and to suggest accurate steps further. Some details they might ask for include:
- Any miscarriages, previous pregnancies and your number of children (for both females and males)
- How long you have been trying to conceive, such as whether you have sexual intercourse every 2-3 days
- If there are any difficulties during intercourse (e.g painful intercourse)
- Duration since you have stopped contraceptive methods (e.g hormonal pills, injections etc.)
- Full medical history - any STIs, regular periods, spotting in between periods
- Any medicines that you are taking (some medicines may affect your fertility e.g. antidepressants)
- Your lifestyle habits (how active you are, weight, stress levels, smoking status and alcohol usage)
A GP might consider doing a physical examination as well. If you are a female, they will check your weight-to-height ratio (BMI - body mass index), and examine the pelvic area for any signs of tenderness, lumps or infections to exclude certain conditions.
As a male, the GP will have a look at both tests to see if there is any swelling, lumps or unusual deformities and at the penis to see if there are any abnormalities regarding the shape and structure.
What fertility tests will the GP perform?
The doctors will assess the situation and determine if both partners need to be subjected to fertility testing.
Testing fertility might take some time to find the cause but can be assisted by the following tests to determine the cause:
1. Blood tests
Testing of the female's AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) level will be able to tell the doctor how many eggs someone has left since the level decreases with age and the number of eggs (the eggs released AMH).
Testing the level of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) will also indicate the egg count since this level increases as the egg count decreases.
HSG, hysterosalpingography, is an X-ray procedure of the fallopian tubes and the uterus to check for any blockages, deformities or abnormalities.
3. Genetic testing
Especially if there have been miscarriages, a genetic abnormality might be found.
4. Hormone levels
In this case, prolactin levels might be elevated due to certain medications and cause infertility.
5. Semen analysis
During semen analysis, a sample of semen will be taken and viewed microscopically. Doctors and medical technologists will be able to determine if there are any structural abnormalities concerning the sperm, the number of sperm (sperm count), their movements and the speed at which they move.
Can I check my fertility at home?
Women are able to do an ovulation test at home, which they can buy online or at a pharmacy. These tests may indicate that they have ovulated or that they are ovulating and can give them an indication as to when the best time would be to have unprotected sex. On average, the cost for a test is around £30.
Men, meanwhile, are able to buy sperm count test kits online which will indicate if they have a high or low sperm count. The online test kits cost around £20.
Can I get further assistance on how to check my fertility?
For more guidance with checking your fertility, book a consultation with GlobMed.
Fertility refers to the ability for one to conceive. In contrast, infertility is when someone is unable to conceive naturally. However, fortunately, there are ways to both check and receive assistance with fertility.
Yes, there are many at-home fertility testing kits available online and in stores in the UK today. There are a variety of types of fertility tests that can check one's hormone levels, and therefore, their ability to conceive.
Doctors will first ask a series of questions that can help them create a broader picture of your fertility. Such as, whether you have been pregnant before, have experienced any miscarriages, have any STIs and so forth. Then, for women patients, will conduct a pelvic examination. An ultrasound of the ovaries and uterus can help determine one's fertility. Regularly tracking your ovulation will likely be advised too.