One in six couples experience difficulty conceiving a child. For those desperate to have a baby, fertility tests may seem like the answer. But do these tests work? And if they do work, what’s the best way to use them? In this article, experts from a London fertility clinic, will explore those questions and more.
First, it’s important to understand what fertility tests are. There are several different types of fertility tests available, including tests for men and women, as well as couples’ tests that look at both partners at the same time. Fertility tests can be done in a lab, or done at home with a kit.
The first step to understanding how these tests work is understanding how conception works in the first place. To become pregnant, a woman must release an egg from her ovaries. This process typically happens once per month and is known as ovulation. The egg then travels down one of the fallopian tubes toward the uterus, where it may meet sperm released by the man during ejaculation. If the sperm and egg combine in the fallopian tube, then pregnancy may occur.
Now that we know how conception occurs we can look at how it is assessed by fertility tests. One of the most common ways to check for ovulation is through a blood test for progesterone levels. Another popular way to detect ovulation is with an ultrasound scan of your abdomen or pelvis.
Home testing kits work somewhat differently from laboratory tests. In-home kits, women collect saliva samples throughout their cycle, looking for a spike in oestrogen around the time they are expected to ovulate. Although these types of tests are accurate at detecting fertile periods, they aren’t always as reliable as lab-based tests.
Many couples turn to fertility tests as a first step in trying to conceive. But before you do the same, you must speak with your doctor or reproductive specialist. They can help you understand your test results and determine if they indicate any potential problems with conception. In some cases, fertility tests may lead to early diagnosis of conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis, leading to better treatment options for those who are trying to have a baby.
What are the best fertility tests?
What kinds of fertility tests are available, and how effective are they at determining the cause of infertility?
Fertility tests can generally fall into two categories: those that measure hormone levels in your blood or urine, and those that examine your reproductive organs directly. This article looks at some of the most common types of tests used to assess female fertility.
One way to evaluate female fertility is with a hormonal blood test. This measure levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol, prolactin, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), testosterone, anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH), and antimullerian inhibiting substance(AIS). Levels of these hormones can provide information about the state of your ovaries and, by extension, your fertility.
Another common test used to evaluate female fertility is an ultrasound scan. This uses sound waves to produce images of the reproductive organs, allowing doctors to look at the size and shape of your ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Other tests that check for structural issues in these organs include hysterosalpingography (an X-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes after the dye has been injected into them), laparoscopy (a keyhole surgery that allows a doctor to take tissue samples), and dilation and curettage (removal of tissues from inside the womb).
Do fertility tests work? In general, yes, although not all at-home testing kits are 100% accurate. Still, there is no harm in using them if you’re thinking about starting a family as long as you discuss any concerns or results with your doctor first.