Fertility testing often happens after a couple have being trying to conceive for some time, without any success but that’s not always the case. Sometimes individuals or couples may not be planning on a child immediately but wish to know the state of their fertility for future needs, due to age or possibly a family history of infertility. After an initial consultation with a clinic you will be advised on the most appropriate tests and procedures for your particular requirement to avoid the stress and cost of unnecessary treatments.
Female fertility assessment
Many of the tests for women at the diagnosis and assessment phase rely on the use of ultrasound technology, a technique that will also be later used on the developing foetus if pregnancy occurs. This has become a replacement technology for the use of X-rays. The tests are generally carried out within a single menstrual cycle.
Antral Follicle Count
This test is generally offered to women who are concerned about their increasing age and the chances of conceiving. By the age of 35, women are 50 per cent less likely to conceive than at 25 and by 43 conception without treatment is very unlikely. The test involves a physical count under ultrasound of the number of follicles produced each month, which will give a good indication of the amount of eggs in reserve. In turn this information can be used to predict the chances of success of treatment or to give an indication if fertility is starting to decline.
This test relies on an ultrasound probe, inserted through the vagina to examine the status of the fallopian tubes. For a successful pregnancy, these need to fully open for the sperm to pass through and for the embryo to reach the womb. The test is unnecessary if a decision has already been made to use IVF or ICSI as the fallopian tubes play not part in the process.
This procedure again uses ultrasound technology to assess the walls of the uterus to look for issues such as endometrial polyps or fibroids which may make it difficult for embryos to implant properly (whether naturally or by IVF).
This test is based on a blood sample and will reveal information about ovarian age and any potential problems that could be caused by a hormone imbalance.
Whilst this is not strictly a fertility assessment it is a way of checking for abnormalities in an embryo to screen for certain disorders such as Huntingdon’s disease or cystic fibrosis. It can be carried out routinely as part of IVF treatment.
Male fertility assessment
The male test is relatively simple compared with the female tests and involves the analysis of a sample of semen. Mr Julian Norman-Taylor will often recommend that more than one test is carried out over a period of a few months as sperm quality can vary dramatically over time. The test is primarily looking for one of four main male fertility problems:
- Low sperm count (oligozoospermia) or no sperm at all (azoospermia)
- Weak or slow moving sperm (asthenozoospermia)
- Unusually high percentage of abnormal sperm (teratozoospermia)
- Anti-sperm antibodies, indicating an autoimmune problem
The assessment may also require a blood test, similarly to the female test to look or potential hormone imbalances
Before any fertility treatment can be embarked upon, Chiltern Fertility will perform comprehensive fertility assessment to diagnose any potential issues. To arrange a consultation with our lead fertility expert Mr Julian Norman-Taylor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01865 782856. Alternatively, fill in the contact form and one of the team will be in touch.