02 May 2018
Planning a family is an exciting time for couples, and can also be associated with degree of anxiety. When do you start trying to conceive – at what point after you ‘start’ do you realise you may need medical help if you are going to get pregnant? The female fertility assessment is also an option for women who are not planning a family just yet, and want reassurance that it is okay to delay starting their family.
Now Consultant Gynaecologist Ms Rima Rajkhowa is planning to start a One-Stop Female Fertility Assessment Clinic at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, Birmingham West Midlands.
Here she answers questions on what the clinic will provide and who might benefit from its services.
What is the idea behind a fertility assessment?
In couples trying to conceive, there are three questions that we need to answer. Does the man have a good sperm count, are the sperm of normal shape and are they swimming well.
Is the woman ovulating with a good store of eggs in the ovary? Is the uterus structurally normal with open fallopian tubes?
At the Clinic we will be able to tell the patient whether she has a good store of eggs and is ovulating with no structural problems in the uterus such as fibroids or polyps.
What sort of tests will you carry out?
The assessment will include a consultation for medical history, an AMH (Anti Mullerian Hormone) blood test, as well as a transvaginal pelvic ultrasound scan for antral follicle count, which along with AMH will assess ovarian reserve or store of eggs. The ultrasound scan will also assess the uterus for any obvious structural problems or ovarian cysts such as endometriosis, which may have an impact on conception.
What sort of things might you find that could impede a woman getting pregnant?
Most importantly we will be able to reassure the patient regarding her plans for pregnancy. We will be able to identify if there is infrequent ovulation, and the reason for this. We will be able to highlight any factors affecting implantation due to changes in the uterus, such as polyps or fibroids, or Ovarian problems such as polycystic ovaries or endometriosis, all of which can contribute to problems with conception.
Would you be able to give expert advice as to how these impediments could be overcome?
Yes, we will be able to direct the patient appropriately. It is well established fact that early and appropriate management improves the chances of pregnancy with any fertility treatment.
How long will an average assessment take?
It will take approximately one hour for the consultation and scan. This will be followed by the blood test taken by a phlebotomist. The blood test result will be discussed with a follow up telephone review if all is normal and no further action is needed. If the test result is outside the normal range, then a follow up consultation to discuss the result and management will be requested with the patient’s permission.
What age group of women do you think will be most interested in the service?
The age range can be from early twenty’s to mid forty
Would it make sense for the man to be tested for sperm count before the couple undergo a fertility assessment?
Yes, ideally the sperm test result, if available, is going to complete the information for the assessment although this is not always necessary before the one-stop female assessment.
Once the couple receive a full assessment what would normally happen next?
The couple will have the opportunity to discuss the next steps, which will often mean no further action, but sometimes will include treatment plans as appropriate. This may include medication to boost ovulation or surgery to remove fibroids, polyps, ovarian cysts, ovarian drilling or tubal patency testing. I will also be able to give them clear and detailed information of assisted conception options including the potential chances of success
Q: How quickly could I have a consultation, and how much would it cost?
A: It depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted to see, but we pride ourselves on getting you fast access to diagnosis and you can often get a consultation within 24/48 hours. Initial consultation fees vary by consultant, but between £175-£250 is a reasonable guide.
Q: If I need surgery, how quickly could I have it?
A: We have no waiting lists at Spire Parkway, but again it depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted, but as a guide, and subject to your pre-operation assessment, between one and two weeks.
Q: I don’t have health insurance, can I self-pay?
A: Yes, you can. Our self-pay team can talk you through this and explain the finance options that are available, should you wish to explore them. Call 0121 704 5530, or click here to submit an enquiry online.