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Fertility assessmentJul 1, 2024

Understanding fertility tests: A comprehensive guide to planning parenthood

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Around one in seven couples will have difficulty conceiving and fertility problems can affect both men and women. There are many possible causes for your fertility challenges including a lack of ovulation in women and low-quality sperm in men.   

Whether you’ve been struggling to conceive for some time or would like to understand more about your fertility health, a fertility test can provide an accurate measure of your ability to conceive so that you can plan for the future. 

How do fertility tests work?

There are several types of fertility tests that can be used to check your overall fertility health.  

Fertility tests for Women will typically check the hormone levels in your blood, assessing your ovarian reserve and when/if you are ovulating. For men, a semen analysis is used to determine the sperm count and how well they move.  

We offer fertility tests for men, women and couples at all our TFP Fertility clinics. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant with a partner or co-parent, we recommend that both of you get tested as infertility can affect either or both partners.  

You’ll need to visit the clinic a couple of times to complete all the necessary investigations and to have a follow-up consultation with one of our fertility specialists to discuss your results.  

Nurse with woman

What do fertility tests involve?

In most cases, you’ll initially be asked to complete a medical and lifestyle questionnaire that includes your medical history, BMI and blood pressure. Depending on those outcomes, your fertility clinic will arrange for further tests.  

The right tests for you will depend on your gender, personal circumstances and health struggles. We use a variety of fertility assessments to improve our chances of diagnosing the cause of your fertility challenges. 

Are fertility tests different for men and women?

Because of the different roles males and females play in the making of a baby, the fertility assessments we carry out to determine your fertility health do differ between a man and woman.  

For females, we typically carry out two types of assessment: 

AMH blood test – Here, we assess your ovarian reserve by checking your levels of the anti-mullerian hormone, a hormone produced by cells in the ovary. This enables us to assess your potential reaction to stimulating drugs as well as predict how many eggs we might be able to collect during treatment.  

AFC trans-vaginal scan – This is a pelvic ultrasound examination to assess your uterus and check for any abnormalities. We will also assess your ovaries for their volume - ovaries tend to decrease in size in the time before menopause and smaller ovaries have been linked to a poor response to stimulating drugs – as well as the number of antral follicles. It’s important to know that your ovarian antral follicle count (AFC) declines as you age.  

Together, these tests give an accurate measure of your fertility and likely your response to any medication. We recommend that the scan should be carried out in the first half of your menstrual cycle. 

For males, the most common fertility test is a semen analysis. This will help us determine if there are any abnormalities in your sperm that may affect your chances of a successful pregnancy.   

In addition to the sample’s volume and pH, the semen analysis also assesses: 

  • Sperm density – This is the number of sperm you have. 

  • Sperm motility – This is your sperm’s ability to swim. If your sperm has poor motility, this means that they do not swim well and will therefore struggle to reach the egg on their own.  

  • Sperm density – This is the number of sperm you have in your ejaculate. 

The importance of fertility tests

Fertility testing is a crucial first step in identifying any underlying conditions potentially impacting your fertility. This can include hormonal imbalances as well as conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis. 

Our combination of fertility tests provides a comprehensive overview of your fertility health and helps to determine the best course of treatment for achieving a successful pregnancy. 

If you’ve been struggling to conceive naturally for 12 months or longer, a fertility test is required by all fertility clinics before any treatment can take place.  

For women in particular, age is an important factor in your ability to conceive as your ovarian reserve (number of eggs) declines over time. We recommend booking in for a fertility assessment sooner rather than later.  

Bloodtest

Why consider a fertility test?

There are several scenarios in which we would recommend having a fertility test carried out. These include: 

  • If you and your partner or co-parent have been struggling to conceive for 12 months or longer, a fertility assessment will help diagnose any fertility challenges  

  • If you’re planning on waiting until later on life to try for a baby, a fertility assessment will provide an accurate measure of your current fertility health so you can make informed decisions regarding fertility preservation and future treatment 

  • If you’re about to undergo treatment for a medical condition (for example, cancer) or are considering gender-affirming treatment in the near future and think you might want to try for children later on, a fertility assessment will provide an accurate measure of your current fertility health so you can make informed decisions regarding fertility preservation and future treatment 

How accurate are fertility tests?

Having a fertility test carried out at a licensed fertility clinic will provide an accurate measure of your fertility health to help you plan for the future.  

For females, the combined AMH blood test and ultrasound scan presents fertility specialists with a detailed view of your ability to conceive and carry a child, as well as your likely response to any medication if treatment is needed. 

The average sperm count is between 40 million and 300 million sperm per milliliter. Using the semen analysis (or sperm count), our specialists can give a strong indication of the health and viability of your sperm against these averages and any likely infertility. 

Start your journey to parenthood, book a fertility assessment with TFP Fertility.

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