Common fertility questions
Dr Madgy Asaad is the Clinical Director at London Fertility Centre. He answers some of the most common questions women have about their fertility.
How can I find out how fertile I am?
A comprehensive fertility test gives you a full assessment of your ability to conceive and can also identify any underlying factors that could prevent you from conceiving naturally.
The London Fertility Centre has a special offer available for a comprehensive fertility test. To find out more, or to book a test, call 020 7224 0707 or send us your enquiry.
What does a fertility test involve?
A comprehensive, accurate fertility test profiles your current and potential future fertility using a combination of a blood test and two pelvic ultrasound scans that take place at two stages during your menstrual cycle.
Stage one is carried out on day two or three of your menstrual cycle, which we call the ‘resting stage’. A nurse carries out a blood test to measure levels of naturally-occurring follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), oestradiol (E2), and anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH). A fertility specialist will then conduct a pelvic ultrasound scan (this is using a internal vaginal probe) to detect how many follicles are present on your ovaries – this is known as an antral follicle count (AFC) and it reflects ovarian reserve (how many eggs you have left) and indicates how many follicles are available for selection in your current menstrual cycle. It also indicates the number of follicles available for hormone stimulation should you require fertility treatment.
Stage two is usually about two weeks after your first visit, when you return for a second pelvic ultrasound scan ‘mid-cycle’. The time that you return for this second scan will depend on the length of your natural menstrual cycle. Your consultation with a fertility specialist will only be carried out at Stage 2 once we have all the test results.
To find out more, or to book a test, call 020 7224 0707 or send us your enquiry.
Why can’t I just take an over-the-counter fertility test instead?
Over-the-counter male and female fertility tests are available, however they are unreliable.
Over-the-counter tests for women measure one hormone called FSH, which can be used to help indicate ovarian reserve, but unfortunately it needs to be measured alongside several other hormones to give you an accurate picture of your fertility.
A comprehensive fertility test measures a number of different hormones and will also indicate if you might have any ovarian reserve problems.
What hormones do you test for?
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is produced by the pituitary gland. It stimulates the growth of egg-producing follicles on the ovaries in females and sperm production in males and is used as an indicator to measure ovarian reserve, which is the capacity your ovaries have to produce eggs that can be fertilised. The information is also used to predict your likely present and future fertility.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) is also produced by the pituitary gland and stimulates ovulation in women.
Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) levels can be used to measure your ovarian reserve and also provide an indication of how well your ovaries would react to stimulating drugs if they were used during fertility treatment.
Oestradiol (E2) is an oestrogen hormone that is produced by growing follicles in the ovaries.
What can I do to improve my fertility?
Leading a healthy lifestyle is important when you’re trying to make sure your body is fertile and able to create a healthy baby.
Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do for you fertility – women who are lifetime smokers go through menopause about two years earlier than normal and also have a higher risk of miscarriage.
Cutting out alcohol and improving your diet and overall fitness are also beneficial, and if you’re trying for a baby it’s also a good idea to increase your daily intake of folic acid – the vitamin is vital to the growth and development of a baby’s head and spine during its early stages.
Can I protect my fertility for later in life?
Women who want to preserve their chance of motherhood but aren’t ready to start a family can choose to freeze their eggs. The process is becoming more and more popular, and it doesn’t require a partner’s sperm so single women can consider this option. .
Eggs are frozen in liquid nitrogen at extremely low temperatures (-196°C), which aims to keep them healthy even after long-term storage. Recently, there have been a lot of news stories that question how successful egg freezing actually is, and that entirely depends on the type of freezing process a clinic uses.
The London Fertility Centre is one of just a few centres in the UK that has started using a special new freezing technique called vitrification and we believe it will greatly increase the chances of egg survival rates. In fact, global studies have shown vitrification increases the likelihood of the egg surviving to as much as 90%. (Loutradi & Kolibianakis et al, Fertility and Sterility Journal 90:1, p186-193)).
Is there a fertility test for men?
When a couple are trying for a baby the man’s fertility is just as important as the woman’s: 32.5% of reasons of infertility reside in the woman and 32.5% of reside in the man*. A semen analysis fertility test measures sperm count, motility, and abnormal shape, which amongst other factors, may be decrease a man’s fertility.
To find out more about the London Fertility Centre’s semen analysis, or to book a test, call 020 7224 0707 or send us your enquiry.
What happens if my fertility test results aren’t good?
If your fertility test result reveals that you already have poor fertility, or are likely to in the future, you may want to be speak to an expert about your different options. They could include thinking about starting a family earlier, having further investigations, fertility treatment, egg or sperm donation or surrogacy.
The London Fertility Centre offers free supportive counselling to anybody who has a fertility test.
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