Updated: May 13
This article has a specific focus on female fertility tests and is part 2 of a 3-part-series on fertility testing.
This article discusses:
· How a Woman’s Fertility is Tested
· Fertility Test for Women at Home
· Information about Anti Müllerian Hormone tests
· Fertility Test for Women Over 35
· Female fertility testing by the Doctor
If you haven’t read part 1 be sure to have a read. Part 1 covers the basics of conception, provides a definition of fertility, explains how fertility tests work and discusses whether you should have a fertility check before you start trying to conceive.
Part 3 of the series focuses on male fertility tests.
Speak to or see a GP or Practice Nurse for a preconception review consultation, if possible at least 3-6 months before you start trying to conceive and ideally earlier. You will be able to discuss your overall health and receive preconception advice. They can check your blood pressure, weight and height and may arrange blood tests to check your iron levels or vitamin D.
If you have menstrual symptoms e.g. heavy and painful periods and you haven’t had
investigations before your GP can arrange an ultrasound scan or referral to a
Gynaecologist. If you have a known cause of infertility or history of predisposing
factors for infertility e.g. endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome you may require
early referral to the relevant specialist.
Your healthcare professional may also recommend taking a prenatal supplement and suggest lifestyle changes. A dietician can also provide you with more detailed nutrition advice.
There are only a few days within the menstrual cycle where the egg and sperm have a chance of meeting and fertilising. This time of your cycle is referred to as the ‘fertile window’.
The fertile window can start from 5 days before ovulation and last until the day after ovulation. The length of the fertile window depends on how long the sperm and egg survives in the female uterus.
The fertile window can be estimated using natural fertility awareness methods including measuring basal body temperature, assessing the consistency of cervical mucus and identifying other symptoms of ovulation.
The national institute of clinical excellence (NICE) does not recommend the use of basal body temperature charts to confirm ovulation. The guidance states that it does not reliably predict ovulation. NICE recommends regular sex twice a week throughout the year.
If having sex twice a week throughout the year is not practical. Then having sex during this fertile period may also be effective. Having sex at least every other day during the fertile period is likely to be sufficient.
The most useful self-administered at-home fertility tests are those that help you predict your fertile window and ovulation date. These include fertility awareness and natural family planning methods, an app like Natural Cycles, ovulation testing kits and fertility devices.
Anti-müllerian hormone (AMH) does not predict your ability to become pregnant in the future. The blood test should not be used to help you decide whether you can delay starting a family. It only gives you a fraction of the picture of your fertility. There is no single fertility test available to ascertain your overall fertility or to estimate your chances of becoming pregnant.
I advise against buying female fertility blood test kits that test your AMH unless you have been specifically advised by a fertility Specialist, GP or gynaecologist. Only do the tests that your doctor has asked you to do and where applicable have them done on the relevant day of your cycle. I set up Your Trusted Squad to empower women and I don’t believe doing the AMH test empowers women. It is being misused and often causes unnecessary anxiety and false assurance without providing valuable and actionable information.
There aren’t any specific fertility tests for women over 35. However if you have been trying to conceive and have not become pregnant
*After 6 months if you are 36 years old and over
*After 12 months if you are 35 years old or younger
*Have not conceived after 6 cycles of artificial insemination
You should arrange to visit your GP, ideally with your partner, for a review for
assessment and investigations.
Your Trusted Squad is not affiliated to or receiving any payment from any of the products or services included in this post.
The links to the services in this post are for information purposes only. Your Trusted Squad is not endorsing or recommending the products or services in this post and will perform a review in a later post.
A review of the products and data (independent or manufacturer produced) on how accurate and reliable the ovulation kits and fertility devices will be done in a future post.
What tests can be done to find out if I can get pregnant?