If you’re currently trying to get pregnant, anything less than immediate success can be stressful. You may be asking yourself, what’s wrong with me or my partner and why are we having difficulties? Although it can be tempting to turn to fertility testing at this point, it’s important to remember that it’s perfectly normal for many couples not to conceive straight away. If you go to your local GP they will generally advise women 35 or younger to try for at least 1 year before considering investigative testing. This is 6 months for women over 35 due to age-related infertility.
When you’ve made the decision to have a baby, waiting 6 months to a year for answers can seem like a lifetime. If you do decide that you’d like to have a fertility test done, you have options. You can either test your fertility at home or reach out to a healthcare provider who can look at your and your partner’s fertility using several methods. These methods include blood tests looking at basic reproductive hormones, ultrasounds to check for structural issues, and men’s semen analysis designed to identify male infertility issues, such as low sperm count (Walker, 2021).
Here, you’ll find information about more comprehensive fertility testing options for men and women. These tests will give you a detailed overview of your current health. They can help identify any underlying issues that are driving your infertility struggles.
Female tests to consider:
- A full blood panel looking at – reproductive hormones (estrogen, progesterone, LH, FSH, prolactin, SHBG, Testosterone), a complete thyroid panel (including T3, T4, and thyroid antibodies), vitamin D status, and blood sugar levels in the form of HbA1C.
- AMH Levels – This test measures a hormone called the Anti-Mullerian hormone, which is an indicator of a woman’s egg count. Ovaries can make thousands of eggs during our childbearing years. But this number will begin to fall as a woman gets older. AMH levels help show how many potential egg cells a woman has left. It is not however a marker of the quality of these eggs.
- Dutch Test cycle mapping – This test examines your hormone levels and their metabolites throughout your cycle, monitoring your follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase, as well as your response to cortisol (our stress hormone) and how these may be impacting your overall fertility and chances of conception
- Vaginal microbiome health – Fertility is not just all about our reproductive hormones and the timing of intercourse. This test assesses the vaginal microbiome – a key ecosystem for female health and reproductive optimisation. It can provide an accurate analysis of the microbiota abundance, inflammatory markers, and pH. Disruption of microbiota composition and functions, termed dysbiosis, has been linked to a multitude of disorders. It includes bacterial vaginosis (BV), premature delivery in pregnant women, infertility & miscarriages
Male tests to consider:
- A comprehensive male hormone panel – Key markers to identify are testosterone, SHBG, and prolactin.
- Comet test/ DNA fragmentation – A test designed to identify sperm DNA damage, which is the leading cause of male infertility. Men with high levels of damaged sperm DNA are less likely to get their partners pregnant. They also have double the risk of miscarriage. Even if your sperm count is normal, the sperm may not be of good enough quality. This test will identify if this is the case. It allows you to focus on a nutrition & lifestyle approach that will maximise the reduction in DNA damage.
It’s worth noting that test results can be extremely daunting when you don’t fully know what they mean. The best way to do fertility tests is under the supervision of a nutritional therapist who can not only interpret the tests for you but give you practical nutrition, supplement, and lifestyle advice on what you can do to improve your results.
Do you know other fertility tests that can help? Leave us a comment below.