Fertility Wellness Checks: why they are important and what they entail
By Krishna Sharma for IVF London
Do you ever wonder about the health of your eggs? Are you ever concerned about the quality of your sperm? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you’re not alone! It’s completely normal to start considering your reproductive health, even if you don’t plan on having children yet. Here at IVF London, we believe in empowering people with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions surrounding their fertility.
Why should I get a Fertility Wellness Check?
A Fertility Wellness Check, sometimes referred to as a Fertility MOT, can help to identify things that could make it difficult to conceive a child now or in the future. For some people, it can also help your fertility specialist to diagnose any fertility issues that may have been missed by healthcare professionals previously.
It’s well-known that as females get older, the quantity and quality of their eggs naturally begins to decline. This decline tends to become exponential after the age of 35 and this often leads to a lot of anxiety during family planning and when trying to conceive. It can be difficult to know whether any fertility issues are present until after several unsuccessful attempts at becoming pregnant. By opting to have a Fertility Wellness Check, you are enabled to learn more about your overall reproductive health and fertility potential and, in particular, your egg reserve.
For males, while age does not have a detrimental effect on their fertility to the same extent as it does on females, there are a lot of things to look out for when assessing semen quality. Your lifestyle, as well as your genetics, can have a large impact on the health of your sperm, so a Fertility Wellness Check is a great way to address any uncertainty surrounding your sperm quality.
What should I expect during a Fertility Wellness Check for females?
Here at IVF London, a female Fertility Wellness Check consists of two main components.
Pelvic ultrasound scan:
A member of our lovely team of fertility specialists will perform a pelvic ultrasound scan which helps us to see your ovaries. From this we can determine something called an Antral Follicle Count (AFC), which is the number of small sacs (follicles) containing immature eggs in the ovaries. The AFC can be used as a rough indicator of how many eggs are remaining in the ovary, also known as the ovarian reserve.
A pelvic ultrasound scan also helps us to assess the health of your uterus. It can be used to identify the structure and shape of the uterus, which is important to consider when trying to become pregnant. Some anomalies which may cause issues during natural conception and IVF treatment are fibroids and polyps, which are both growths that can cause symptoms such as heavy bleeding during periods, pelvic pain, and difficulty becoming pregnant. These can be identified during a pelvic ultrasound scan and allow doctors to tailor your care package to your unique needs.
This blood test measures the amount of Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) in your blood. AMH is produced in the ovarian follicles during the early stages of their development, and a higher AMH level in the blood is indicative of a higher number of eggs in the ovary. The blood test allows us to learn level of this hormone in your blood, which can be helpful in determining roughly how many eggs will be harvested should you wish to proceed with IVF treatment or egg-freezing.
What should I expect during a Fertility Wellness Check for males?
Here at IVF London, the male Fertility Wellness Check consists of one main component.
For a semen analysis, we will ask you to provide a semen sample in-house, where it will then be examined by one of our wonderful laboratory team. The sample will be assessed for three key measures of sperm health, which can correlate to your fertility potential.
- The first is sperm count. This is measured as a concentration, in millions-per-millilitre.
- The second is sperm motility. This is a measure of how far the sperm cells can move and whether they move correctly.
- The third is sperm morphology. This determines whether the sperm cells are the correct shape and have all necessary components.
The results of your Fertility Wellness Check
For females, as the results of your check can be quite complex, they are provided during a 30-minute consultation with our in-house doctor. During these options, we will suggest possible treatment options tailored to you. For example, if any issues such as fibroids or polyps have been identified, the doctor may refer you for surgery to remove these. Alternatively, for those with a low ovarian reserve who wish to conceive, we may suggest multiple cycles of IVF, also known as embryo batching.
For males, as there are fewer checks performed, results can often be given via a phone-call with a member of the laboratory team. Here, the three key results from your semen analysis will be discussed. If any serious issues are identified, you may be referred to a urologist, who can perform more in-depth tests to help identify the source of the issues and discuss treatment options.
At IVF London, we understand that this information can be daunting, and offer a lot of support to those who are anxious about their fertility. If you’d like to get some more information, why not book a free mini-consultation with one of our friendly and compassionate fertility specialists? We’d be more than happy to help.