Do you really need fertility testing? Perhaps you’re in your late twenties or early thirties so you’ve got time, right? And anyway, what difference does fertility testing make to how easy conception will be in practice? These are common assumptions, but the truth is that fertility testing can tell you more than might think. Read on and we explain.

Why Get Fertility Testing?

Knowledge is power, and time is fertility. Dr Amin Gorgy, Fertility Consultant at The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy says: “If there are any problems that could present a hurdle to getting pregnant, you will want to know about them sooner rather than later because the single biggest factor affecting fertility is age. Age affects outcomes both when it comes to getting pregnant “naturally” and when it comes to assisted conception techniques.

“So if you think you may want children in the future, it’s never a bad idea to get checked out. That way, you can make an informed choice about when you might wish to start trying for a baby. And even perhaps whether you might want to put some savings aside for possible help with conception in the future.

“Really as fertility doctors it is important that we tell people the truth: assisted conception techniques help people every single day who otherwise would not be able to bear children – but when it comes to having kids, no one has forever. That’s just a fact of life.”

What Can Fertility Testing Tell You?

It depends on what you opt for, because fertility testing packages are not created equal…

At-Home Test Kits

At-home fertility tests are now on the market which measure things like Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). AMH levels are an indicator of ovarian reserve (how many eggs you might have left). There are also tests that measure other hormone levels, for example androgen hormones like testosterone, to try to identify problems like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). But these very limited, out of context tests can be misleading.

In the words of The British Fertility Society who have cautioned: “Many women with low ovarian reserve will conceive without any problems whilst others with a good ovarian reserve may take time and need fertility treatment… Tests showing a good ovarian reserve are reassuring but they by no means guarantee a baby and equally a poor or impaired ovarian reserve does not mean you will struggle and need fertility treatment.”

In other words, there is more to fertility than ovarian reserve. Frequently, conditions that can enormously impact fertility (such as PCOS, and structural problems with the womb) can only be reliably diagnosed via ultrasound scans. Much more reassuring fertility testing will include pelvic ultrasound to look at your antral follicles (fluid-filled sacs that contain your eggs), your uterus and other reproductive organs.

Simply put, at-home tests can offer false reassurance. If you miss problems, you lose time, and time is fertility. So as conception experts, we recommend you seek fertility testing at a reputable clinic. Questions about fertility require thorough screening and consultation, with detailed explanation to put results in context. That way, you can make informed choices about your future.

Fertility Testing Packages At Fertility clinics

Generally speaking, fertility clinics will offer different screening packages. But the most comprehensive fertility testing packages will be able to give you a picture of:

  • Your ovarian reserve (how many eggs you have left): This will be done using both scanning (where doctors do an ‘antral follicle count’ to look at the fluid-filled sacs containing immature eggs) and an anti-mullerian hormone blood test.
  • The balance of other hormones crucial to healthy fertility. For example: luteinising hormone (LH) which is essential for proper function of the ovaries; follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which not only stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles but also encourages oestrogen production; progesterone, which thickens the womb lining in preparation for and support of a pregnancy; and other essential fertility hormones.
  • The structural integrity of your reproductive organs such as your womb and fallopian tubes. This will be delivered using sophisticated scanning techniques. Here at The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy we use transvaginal ultrasound and saline hysterography because they are more accurate methods of identifying potential problems than abdominal ultrasound. For example, miscarriage or failure of the embryo to implant can occur because of abnormalities in the womb like adhesions (for example from disorders like endometriosis), scar tissue or polyps, or because of blocked fallopian tubes.
  • Any fertility problems with the male partner. Semen analysis will look at the seminal fluid to establish sperm health, and can identify issues with sperm count, vitality, motility and shape. Sophisticated fertility testing for men can also identify antisperm antibodies (generated by the immune system responding to a trauma or inflammation) that can cause infertility in men.
  • How conducive your current lifestyle is to pregnancy. Proper fertility testing should include thorough consultation with compassionate questions to understand your medical history as well as your lifestyle. How are your diet and stress levels? Are you burning the candle at both ends? For example, research has shown that certain lifestyle markers such as eating a Mediterranean diet are associated with better fertility, and on the flip side higher alcohol consumption is linked to lower fertility. Good fertility doctors are abreast of these things and a comprehensive fertility testing package should include advice tailored to you.
  • An explanation of the results with detailed advice both in person and in writing. There is a lot to take in when it comes to fertility testing. A lot of terminology, most of which will probably be unfamiliar to you – not to mention the emotional impact if there are any results you were hoping not to see. Here at The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy, we believe the best way for people to receive the information is in a thorough, empathetic conversation with their consultant, in which they can ask questions to ensure they understand everything. Plus, with a detailed written report containing conclusions and advice, that they can read again as they consider their options.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Fertility Testing?

There are scenarios in which fertility testing is particularly recommended. For example when:

  • You are under age 35 and have been trying for a baby for a year
  • You are over the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for 6 months
  • You are aged 40 or over and want to try for a baby
  • You suspect you might have a hormonal imbalance or a condition that could impact your fertility
  • You have had an STI that can affect fertility (such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea)
  • You have irregular periods or a condition that can affect ovulation (like polycystic ovarian syndrome or endometriosis)
  • You are considering delaying parenthood to focus on other things such as your career, and you want to try to gauge how much time you may have
  • You have suffered recurrent miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy
  • You haven’t found the right partner yet and you are considering freezing your eggs/sperm
  • You are in a same-sex partnership and aren’t sure which partner will carry the baby
  • You have undergone treatment (for example chemotherapy) that may have compromised your fertility

Really though, fertility testing can be helpful for anyone who likes to take charge of their own life and thinks they might want kids in the future.

Should Men Undergo Fertility Testing?

Yes! It is a big mistake for heterosexual couples to seek a fertility test for women without testing the male partner. Male factor infertility accounts for around 30-40% of all conception issues.

What’s more, men have ‘biological clocks’ too. Climbing paternal age is associated with lower testicular function and sperm quality, not to mention higher likelihood of genetic diseases and chromosomal abnormalities. If you are having problems conceiving or are wanting to put off having kids, remember: fertility testing is for men too. Some fertility clinics – such as ours – provide comprehensive fertility testing packages for couples.

Here at The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy, our fertility testing leaves no stone unturned. We believe in a full-picture-whole-person approach, listening to your goals and concerns and ensuring you leave the clinic with a clear understanding of your fertility. Our experts are among the best in their field and the clinic technology is second to none.

To find out how we can help, call The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy now on 020 7224 1880 or email