Around the world, people are becoming more aware of their fertility. While fertility struggles used to be kept private, the conversation is opening up around the potential for fertility problems and so fertility testing is much more common than it used to be. But with more at-home fertility tests available, how do you know which one is best? This is an important time to put your eggs in the right basket, so let us break it down for you.
First things first…
The only *true* test of your fertility is to have unprotected sex and see what the outcome is. But this is, of course, not ideal if you’re just curious and want to get proactive in checking in on your fertility. Yes, you’ll know that you’re fertile but you’ll also have a baby on your hands – not ideal if you’re still studying or about to travel and see the world! It’s also important to remember that it takes two to tango and no matter how fertile you are, that’s only 50% of the equation. Sperm count and quality matter just as much, in any fertility journey.
That said, your hormones can give you some useful insights into your fertility. But which hormones do you need to keep tabs on? Well, some fertility tests will only look at 4 biomarkers (aka hormones) but here at Hertility, we don’t do things by halves. We understand the complex interplay that goes on between you, your biology and your hormones. That’s why we take a comprehensive, whole body approach when it comes to your hormones and fertility so you can get the whole picture of what’s going on and we can support you with what to do next. It all starts with an online health assessment that helps us personalise the test to you.
Meet the star of the show: Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH)
A key part of any fertility test is measuring the levels of a hormone called Anti-Müllerian Hormone or AMH. Produced by the cells in your developing eggs, AMH can be used as a really powerful indicator of how many eggs you have left. Studies comparing the levels of AMH with the number of eggs seen on an ultrasound (when done on the same day of your cycle) have shown AMH to be a reliable way to gauge egg count..
After peaking in your 20’s, AMH levels decline, dropping more rapidly after your mid-30s. However, this rate of decline differs from person to person so it’s important to test regularly to understand what this rate of decline looks like for you.
Based on over 10 years of clinical research, AMH is established as the single most important marker of ovarian reserve and forms a core part of our Hormone & Fertility test. Not only this, but research has also found that AMH has the potential to be used as an indicator of when someone will go through Menopause, a predictor of fertility treatment success and can be used when diagnosing reproductive health conditions such as PCOS & POI.
But fertility isn’t just about having lots of eggs…and we know that.
A fertility test isn’t all about AMH. AMH alone cannot give you the entire picture, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. So, when looking at your fertility (and, in fact, your overall reproductive health), it’s crucial to take into account factors such as your past medical history, biometrics, overall hormonal health and lifestyle factors. This is because each of these has the potential to either positively or negatively affect your ability to conceive.
As well as egg count, egg quality is an important factor too. And whilst there is no test which can tell us about egg quality, we can use information about how you live your life to help you reduce any activities which may be harmful to your maturing follicles and have the potential to reduce the quality of your eggs, such as smoking and drinking.
We also need to know how well your reproductive system is functioning.
So, by giving us insight into your past medical history, we can understand if you’re at risk of things like tubal factor infertility (where sperm may not be able to reach the egg) even if you’re doing all the right things. We also look at hormones such as your thyroid hormones and prolactin, both of which imbalances can affect how you ovulate (release eggs from your ovaries).
When it comes to your fertility, it’s important to get as much information as you can so you can make informed decisions when it matters most. At Hertility, every question in our online health assessment has been carefully selected to build a 360 degree view of your health and fertility. This means that we can select the exact combination of hormones to test you for to make sure you get a clear picture of every aspect of your reproductive health and fertility.