Why are we facing trouble getting pregnant? Are we fertile enough?
If you and your partner ask these questions often, know that you are not alone. Studies have shown that 1 in 7 couples in the UK face fertility issues. This proves that the road to parenting is not always easy, and it’s quite reasonable to have concerns about your fertility. But does this mean you need a fertility test? Let’s find out.
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Understanding your fertility
Your ‘fertility’ is considered to be a measure of how fertile you are and the overall health of the reproductive system. A higher degree of fertility enhances the chances of successful conception, whereas a lower level of fertility can make getting pregnant a challenge.
For women, fertility can be assessed in a few different ways but often begins with a blood test to look at AMH levels which can indicate how many eggs the ovaries have. For men, fertility is assessed by looking at their semen.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, assessing fertility is an important step in finding out if there are any underlying issues affecting your chances of getting pregnant. That goes for both men and women. Understanding your fertility allows you to make educated decisions and seek suitable therapies to increase your chances of starting a family – even if you are just starting on your conception journey.
Do I have fertility issues? Symptoms of infertility
It is important to know how to identify the signs of fertility issues. Unfortunately, fertility issues often go undiagnosed until couples have no luck getting pregnant. That being said, there are some signs you can look out for:
- Irregular menstrual cycles: Women experiencing irregular or absent menstrual cycles may have underlying hormonal imbalances or reproductive disorders that influence fertility.
- Abnormal periods: Severe discomfort, extensive bleeding, or abnormally light periods may suggest endometriosis or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), both of which can lead to problems conceiving.
- Anomalies of the scrotum: Men may experience lumps, swelling, or discomfort in their testicles or scrotum, which might suggest varicoceles or infections that affect sperm production and result in poor fertility.
- Pelvic pain or discomfort: In women, persistent pelvic pain can be a sign of a reproductive health problem such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), endometriosis, or conditions affecting the fallopian tubes. For men, it could indicate an issue with sperm ducts.
It is important to note that these symptoms may vary between individuals.
Types of fertility testing
If you’re going through an emotional rollercoaster because of reproductive issues, fret not, because fertility testing can help give you peace of mind. Fertility testing can offer a complete assessment of your fertility and can help a specialist diagnose the causes of infertility. It includes a series of tests such as:
- Transvaginal ultrasound scan: A painless examination of the female reproductive system, this looks at the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes to determine if there are any internal issues that may cause issues becoming pregnant.
- Egg counting blood test for Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH): This blood test checks levels of an AMH in the body which can give an indication of the amount of eggs the ovaries have.
- Saline Hysterography (SIS) aka Aqua Scan: Implantation failure or miscarriage can occur as a result of obstructed fallopian tubes or uterine abnormalities such as polyps, adhesions, or a septum that was present at birth. This scan checks the integrity of the uterine cavity and offers a clearer picture of potential blockages. It involves injecting sterile saline into the uterine cavity through a thin catheter before performing an ultrasound scan.
- Semen analysis investigation: Fertility testing for men is usually more straightforward. Semen analysis is a non-invasive procedure that involves the collection of a semen sample. This is then tested in the laboratory for motility, shape, quantity of sperm, and total composition of the seminal fluid.
Looking for a fertility test in London for women? The good news is that London is home to some of the very best fertility experts and clinics in the UK. Fertility testing for men is also available at most clinics.
Any fertility test should be followed up with a consultation with an experienced fertility specialist who can give you insight and suggest the best way forward for you and your individual circumstances.
Do I need a fertility test?
If you and your partner are facing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it may be time to book a fertility test or an appointment with an expert.
Even if you have no symptoms of infertility, if you are at all concerned – for any reason – about your fertility, or if you have been trying to get pregnant for a year without success, it may be time to seek help.