Female fertility tests: what you should know
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
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.