Blog
A Guide to Fertility Tests for Women in the UK
Article from medical experts from our clinic
2022-08-22

A Guide to Fertility Tests for Women in the UK

For many women, or non-binary or transgender patients who were assigned female at birth and are currently on the journey to parenthood, the first necessary step will often be a fertility test. However, not everyone who is due to undergo a test will know what it entails beforehand. This is why we have provided a helpful starting guide to fertility tests for women in the UK.

Read on to learn more about what a female fertility test is, when you should consider getting one, and how you can arrange to undergo one yourself. You will also get the chance to read more about our own fertility test for women at GENNET City Fertility.

What is a Female Fertility Test?

A female fertility test (which some UK clinics also call a fertility MOT)  is just how it sounds ‒ it is an assessment of fertility for a patient who is female, or is non-binary or transgender but was assigned female at birth. They are designed to help the patient understand and know more about their own fertility, whether they intend to start trying to get pregnant right away or simply wish to monitor every part of their own fertility health.

A timely assessment of fertility status can help prioritise things in life and help you consider the necessary steps for the future.

Depending on the fertility clinic you attend, there may be several different processes and procedures carried out when you book your own fertility test or assessment. These may include blood tests, ultrasound scans or pelvic exams, minimally invasive surgeries, and consultations that discuss your fertility and medical history. We will discuss some of these in more depth below, in relation to our own practices in our private London clinic.

When Should You Consider Getting a Female Fertility Test?

Experts will normally recommend that female patients seek an assessment if they are under the age of 35 and have not been able to get pregnant naturally after a year of trying. If the patient is above 35, the time frame falls to six months, as fertility potential in women unfortunately decreases qualitatively and quantitatively  as they age.

Reasons to Consider Getting a Female Fertility Test

For many, it will be important to have a female fertility test carried out as soon as possible. For women who are single, this may be so that they can decide whether they should delay having a baby until the time is right by freezing their eggs to alleviate the pressure of the ‘biological clock’, or whether they should consider their options for finding a partner or a sperm donor to begin their journey to parenthood as soon as possible.

For patients in a heterosexual relationship, carrying out a female fertility test may help to rule out factors of infertility that could be preventing them from conceiving naturally. It’s vital for both partners to be checked, as there will often be more than one cause behind a couple’s fertility problems, and trying a number of different tests and assessments may reveal why any two prospective parents are struggling to conceive.

It is also important to remember that while the word “infertile” can sound devastating at first, it does not mean that there is no hope, or nothing to be done. Having a fertility test carried out will often allow a specialist to see what the problem may be that is keeping you from conceiving, and from there they will be able to recommend any number of treatment options to allow you to confidently take the next step on the journey to parenthood.

How to Get a Fertility Test for Women in the UK

Most typically, if you go to your GP or choose to see a specialist privately after a year of being unable to conceive naturally, or if you have any other reason to feel concerned about your fertility, they will be able to perform an initial assessment. This may begin with a series of questions about:

  • Your medical history
  • Your sexual history
  • Previous pregnancies, births, or miscarriages
  • The length of time you have been trying to conceive
  • How often you have sex
  • If you have any difficulties during sex
  • The type of contraceptive or birth control previously used
  • When you stopped using birth control
  • Your periods, and whether you experience bleeding after sex or mid-way through your menstrual cycle
  • Any medications you are currently taking, including non-prescription medication, herbal remedies, and supplements
  • Lifestyle factors, including whether or not you smoke, and your drug or alcohol intake
  • Your weight
  • Your current general mood, and whether or not you are under a lot of stress

Your doctor may also carry out a physical examination, which will involve weighing you in order to check that you have a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), as well as a pelvic exam to check for signs of infections, lumps, or tender areas. These could be signs of issues such as fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian tumours, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Having this examination carried out is not only important for finding out whether you are fertile or infertile. Knowing early if there is an issue may help you to stay as healthy as possible, by ensuring that any problem can be dealt with sooner rather than later.

What Your GP Will Do Next

Once initial tests have been carried out, your Dr should be able to offer you advice and suggestions on what you should do. Often, they may recommend trying to conceive naturally for a little while longer, or trying different lifestyle changes. In other cases, they may refer you to a fertility specialist for further consultation and treatment. You can choose to attend directly to a private fertility clinic for your check up and assessment.

Other Fertility Tests for Women

In some cases, doctors may also recommend other tests to check how fertile you are, especially in situations where other test results have come back normal or inconclusive. These tests may include:

  • Chlamydia tests, which may be conducted via a cervical swab or a urine test
  • Hysterosalpingography or hysterosalpingo-contrast-ultrasonographies, which are tests to show whether your fallopian tubes are blocked and assess your uterine cavity for any abnormalities like polyps or fibroids. 
  • Laparoscopies, which are a type of keyhole surgery in which a camera is inserted into the abdomen to examine the womb, fallopian tubes, and the ovaries, though this is only likely to be recommended if you have had issues such as an episode of PID previously, or if scans have shown that there is a possible blockage. It’s also recommended if you have painful, heavy periods and your history is suggestive of endometriosis.

Our Female Fertility Assessment at GENNET City Fertility

Our Female Fertility Assessment at GENNET City Fertility is a relatively straightforward, two-step procedure. The first of these steps will involve you attending our private clinic in London in order to have an Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) blood test carried out. From the blood sample taken during the test, our specialists should be able to predict your ovarian reserve, giving them a reliable indicator of potential fertility.

You will then have a pelvic scan which involves looking at the uterus and ovaries for any abnormalities and antral follicle count. The second step will involve completing a fertility scan with an antral follicle count. This is a count that also measures your ovarian reserve, conducted via a transvaginal ultrasound study using the latest technology. From this, our team will be able to assess and gather comprehensive information on your egg reserve.

The second step will be a consultation with one of our specialists which can be in person or virtual. During this step, you will also spend some time in consultation with one of our specialists, who will review your medical history and fertility history. This discussion will take into consideration any conditions or issues related to gynaecology, and you will also receive the results of your blood test and scan at this time. Your specialist will explain these to you, before offering advice on lifestyle changes and treatment options that may help.

Our Other Female Investigations

We are also able to offer our patients a range of other female investigations that may help to diagnose certain conditions, identify issues such as infections or blockages, assess the cavity and lining of your womb, and pinpoint factors involved in repeated miscarriages, such as chromosonal abnormalities. More information on each of these can be found on the page provided, or explained to you in person by one of our specialists when you come in for a consultation.

Is There a Fertility Test for Women at Home?

There are home fertility tests for women available on the market. Some of these will involve collecting a blood sample at home, usually via a finger prick, and sending these results to a lab for testing, while others will be conducted as a urine test that gives you instant results. Each are designed to give patients a reading on various hormone levels, including:

  • Anti-Müllerian Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
  • Estradiol
  • Oestrogen and Luteinising Hormone (LH)
  • Thyroid hormones, including Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

No matter which type of test you decide to take, you must be sure to follow the instructions given exactly, and while these home tests are perfectly safe to use, it is important to remember that they may not always give you the most valuable information. It is also possible that they will give false or unreliable results, based on various factors (such as where you are in your menstrual cycle, or your chosen type of birth control). As such, they may not reliably be able to inform you of whether or not you are fertile.

In order to be completely sure of any results you receive from a home fertility test, or to undergo testing for factors that home tests cannot cover, you should always consult with a fertility specialist.

 

Contact Us to Book an Assessment

Whether you know you are ready to expand your family, think you may be ready some time in the future and want to be prepared, or even if you simply wish to look after every aspect of your health, GENNET City Fertility can offer the tests you and your partner need. We will be glad to offer a free, 30-minute mini consultation to get you started when you get in touch with us, during which a discreet and understanding specialist will offer all the information you could need on our fertility tests before we begin.

Article from medical experts from our clinic

Tags