Knowledge Centre

What Makes Hertility Different to Other at-home Fertility Tests?-image

What Makes Hertility Different to Other at-home Fertility Tests?

Fertility testing is much more common than it used to be. But with the growth in the at-home fertility testing market, how do you know which one is best? In this article, we explain why Hertility is a cut above the other at-home tests available.   Quick facts: What at-home testing can tell you Whilst there is no way to 100% definitively determine how fertile you are, testing our hormones can give us key insights into the functioning of our reproductive health and ovarian reserve (egg count).   There are a whole range of different hormones that can work hard to regulate the menstrual cycle and ovulation. If just one becomes imbalanced, it can throw the whole system off.  At Hertility, we’ve spent years building the most accurate diagnostic tool in female health and our tests can give indicative diagnoses within just 10 days of testing.  We don’t believe in doing things in halves—so unlike a lot of other at-home tests on the market, we provide full end-to-end care. Here’s what to expect with each step of our test.  Online Health Assessment  Your test starts with an Online Health Assessment. It takes around 5 minutes to complete and is essentially everything you would cover in an initial private gynaecologist appointment before being referred for a hormone test.  Up to 60 questions cover your medical history, period and cycle, symptoms and individual biomarkers. Each question has been carefully selected to build a 360-degree view of your health and fertility.  Our proprietary algorithm will then determine your risk factors, using 835,000 data variables, for various conditions or hormone imbalances. You’ll then be recommended a personalised hormone panel for your test, based on the analysis of your Online Health Assessment results.  Some other at-home tests don’t include this crucial step and will simply test you for a generic hormone panel. Which hormones do Hertility test? Depending on the outcome of your recommended panel, your test could include the following hormones:  Some fertility tests will only look at E2, LH, FSH and testosterone. These are all very useful in determining how your menstrual cycle is working, but without looking at the full picture and the interplay between different hormones, you’ll only be able to get half the picture.  That’s why we take a comprehensive, whole-body approach when it comes to your hormones and fertility.  You’ll receive your at-home test kit with your personalised panel 3-5 days after you place your order. Our kits are easy-to-use with detailed instructions on each step with links to video instructions. 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 a pelvic ultrasound scan (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. AMH will always feature in your hormone panel, however, it’s important to know that if you’re currently taking hormonal contraception this can temporarily suppress your AMH. Although you can still test AMH while on contraception and get valuable insights, we recommend waiting three months after coming off contraception to give the most accurate results.  Furthermore, research has 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.   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 overall reproductive health, it’s crucial to take a whole-body approach.  Results and follow-up doctor-written report Just 10 days after sending your test kit back to us, you’ll be able to access your hormone results in your online health hub. Each hormone result comes with an explanation, so you can easily understand what your result means.  Along with your results, you’ll receive a doctor-written report that will consider your Online Health Assessment results alongside your blood work. Your dedicated doctor will outline a care plan based on any symptoms you might be experiencing and will recommend any onward care or treatments should you need them. The takeaway At Hertility, we care deeply about your health and well-being. Our mission is to arm women with the answers they need about their reproductive health so that they can make informed decisions about their futures. Our Online Health Assessment and at-home test kits have been rigorously quality tested and are CQC-approved, MHRA-regulated and CE-marked. Start your Health Assessment here.

The Reproductive Revolution hits the Cinema-image

The Reproductive Revolution hits the Cinema

Hertility partners with Pearl & Dean for the launch of #MeToo film, ‘She Said’, to rally women in the UK for the next women’s rights movement, the Reproductive Revolution.   Women’s health company Hertility’s award-winning film, ‘Ooh Someone’s Hormonal,’ spotlighted the lack of research on women’s bodies and called out society for using women’s hormones against them. Now, they’re teaming up with Pearl & Dean, the UK’s best-known cinema advertising contractor, to take the “Mother of all movements” to the next level in a bid to urge millions of women across the UK to get to know their bodies. For 5 weeks from November 25th, ‘Ooh Someone’s Hormonal,’ created by female-founded creative content agency Be The Fox, will be shown before every screening of ‘She Said’ in Pearl and Dean cinemas nationwide, the film starring Carey Mulligan and directed by Maria Schrader telling the story of the #MeToo movement.  Founded by women and powered by an (all female) research team, Hertility is setting a new standard of scientific rigour in female health by empowering women with information about exactly what’s going on under their skin using at-home diagnostic testing, telemedicine and treatment. By joining forces with cinema ad sales firm Pearl & Dean, the partnership aims to fuse science and art in the fight for equality. ‘The #MeToo movement was such a huge step forwards in women’s rights but from a reproductive perspective, women are still second-class citizens. We want to inspire women watching ‘She Said’ to join us in our fight in the next revolution – the Reproductive Revolution – by getting to know their bodies and taking control of their life choices. For themselves and for all women worldwide.’ – Dr Helen O’Neill, CEO and Founder of Hertility Carey Mulligan, has spoken openly about the lack of support for women in the film industry but as a middle finger to the male-dominated Harvey Weinstein era, ‘Ooh Someone’s Hormonal’, produced by female-led production company, Be The Fox, shows Hollywood how it’s done. Echoing the equality seen in the production of ‘She Said’, the female-powered cast and crew of ‘Ooh Someone’s Hormonal’ worked to the soundtrack of female artist Rebecca Taylor of Self-Esteem, complete with childcare on set, changing the outdated landscape and showing what’s possible when women, fully supported, come together. Diana Ellis Hill, Co-Founder, Be The Fox comments: “Empowering women and having true representation is an important cause that’s close to our hearts. We gathered an 80% female team to make the film from DOP and Director to Editor and Colourist as we wanted it to be real and authentic. We are immensely proud of what’s been produced and to see our film on screens at cinemas nationwide ahead of She Said.” Kathryn Jacob OBE, CEO at Pearl & Dean, said: “Cinema is a unique advertising medium in the sense that it is both a personal and shared experience. Cinema has the power to truly reach an individual, and to speak to them one on one, as well as spark a conversation. We are honoured to be working with Hertility to launch its first ever cinema campaign and to be a part of helping to better articulate an important issue that is often hidden or ignored by wider society.” Watch the cinema advert ‘Ooh Someone’s Hormonal’ More information on ‘She Said’



Join the Mother of all movements. We’re joining forces with 5 other female-founded women’s health, wellness and fitness brands are boycotting the usual Black Friday behaviour for a week of amplified knowledge, meaningful discounts and community building, together in a bid to bridge the gender care gap. Check your fertility Use the code GIRLCOTT for 15% off your purchase* from any of the brands involved. From healthcare to fitness and menstrual cycle care to sexual wellness, women have historically had to pay more for products and services that were (more often than not) built for men in the first place. At a time where consumers are asked to shift their focus to spending, The GirlCott Shop encourages you to consider the brands you consume. Join us at our 3 free events throughout the Black Friday Week, or use the code GIRLCOTT for 15% off your purchase* from any of the brands involved. What’s on this week? Sunday 20/11 5:30-6:10pm – Slowdown with Silou Silence the noise of consumerism and prepare for a mindful approach to Black Friday this year by attending a Slow Yin Ritual by Silou London.  Settle into your space and join Silou Ambassador, Emily Cohen Health for a FREE Yin Yoga Class (online). This yoga class is a retreat to draw daily distractions away and nourish your mind and body, open for all abilities including prenatal and postnatal signup   Monday 21/11 7:30pm – Hormone Hacks: Self care to make your cycle work for you Join The GirlCott Shop brands as they share their collective knowledge in a free talk to give women the information they need to make considered, evidence-based buying decisions. Chaired by Hertility Co-Founder & Ovarian Biologist Natalie Getreu, the discussion will explore how you can make your hormones work with you, not against you, using menstrual cycle care, clean period products and sexual wellness. signup   Thursday 24/11 7pm – Let’s Talk About Sex: Sexual Wellness with ILOH, FEWE and Quanna Join FEWE, ILOH and Quanna for an Instagram live discussion on all things Sexual Wellness. According to a One Poll survey in 2021, 1 in 3 women believe formal sex education has failed them and over half wish they’d been taught about female pleasure and menstrual health. This discussion will centre around busting myths and learning why your body does what it does and at which point during your cycle. ILOH INSTAGRAM   Who’s involved? At-home hormome & fertility testing, telemedicine and treatment Hertility is nurturing the Mother of all movements by empowering a new generation of women who want to know their bodies and take control of their life choices, both at home and in the workplace. We’re calling this the Reproductive Revolution! Shop Now Sexual wellness products manufactured in the UK & blended with organic CBD Quanna’s fundamental belief  is that sexual wellness is a state of body/mind that enables you to enjoy and explore sex on your own terms and in your own time. So explore with us if you are interested in premium plant-powered ingredients that support a healthier microflora. Explore your needs with a community that relates and with medical experts that care. Enjoy your pleasure within and beyond the bedroom.  shop now Luxury activewear that feels good on the body, performs in the gym, and is kind to the planet Created for fitness, and designed for life, Silou is a luxury activewear brand which specialises in pieces that feel good on the body, perform in the gym and are kind to the planet. shop now Self-care solutions for every stage of the menstrual cycle FEWE is a female founded cycle care brand with products for every phase of the menstrual cycle, focused on how you can unlock your best self with wellness solutions around the symptoms of your menstrual cycle. At the core of FEWE, is encouraging people to feel their best and consumers can only do this when they understand their cycles and symptoms of the menstrual cycle. shop now Safe, sustainable and beautifully designed period care &SISTERS is here for every period, pregnancy & menopausal flush. It’s time to take menstrual health seriously. It’s more than time for a menstrual health revolution, that’s why they’re here with a new blueprint for health focused product design where sustainability is a given and conversations about menstrual health aren’t swept under the carpet.   shop now The UK’s first by-women for-women sexual health and wellbeing e-tailer ILOH is the UK’s first by women, for women sexual health and wellbeing etailer. Launched by Jemma Sawyer in 2020, ILOH offers an edit of contemporary pleasure and menstrual products, all exclusively created by women. Championing female design innovation and empowering women is at the core of what ILOH stands for. shop now We’re thrilled to announce that the YES company have joined our movement to #GirlcottBlackFriday. Organic lubricants, vaginal moisturizers, and washes for intimate wellbeing The original Organic Intimacy Experts: the YES YES company make a range of certified organic personal lubricants, vaginal moisturisers, and washes for intimate wellbeing. All YES products are certified organic by the Soil Association, and sold to women in over 113 countries worldwide. Certain YES products are even available via prescription on the NHS. Offer Terms & Conditions:The offer codes are applied to the value of the order, excluding delivery costs and are subject to our general Terms and Conditions.  The offer code must be entered into the Voucher Code field on the basket page and applied for the discount to be deducted from the order. Unless stated discounts cannot be combined and only one offer can be applied to any order. Gift cards are excluded from offers, unless stated.  Items already reduced in price are also excluded from this offer. Offers can be amended or withdrawn at any time.

Research News: Real-World Outcomes of Egg Freezing-image

Research News: Real-World Outcomes of Egg Freezing

Pioneering new egg-freezing research has been published by Hertility Doctors, Dr Lorraine Kasaven and Dr Benjamin Jones. Read on for a summary of their findings on the optimal age to freeze your eggs. Quick facts: Is it worth freezing your eggs in your 40s? This is one of the most frequent questions our Doctors get asked by women over 40. The answer, to date, has been—there really isn’t enough data to answer this confidently.  So, in true Hertility fashion, where the data doesn’t exist, we make it our mission to change that. This month, two of our Hertility Doctors, Dr Lorraine Kasaven and Dr Benjamin Jones, published a new study, ‘Reproductive outcomes from ten years of elective oocyte cryopreservation,’ using data from 373 women over ten years to find out the answer to this question once and for all. Their findings suggest that women should get their eggs frozen before the age of 36 to increase their chances of successfully conceiving.  Whilst previous research focused on the number of good quality eggs successfully frozen, Dr Lorraine and Dr Ben’s research looked at the real-world outcomes. Basically—what happened when women tried to use those successfully frozen eggs to get pregnant?  The research outcomes Of the 373 women who froze their eggs, only 36 returned to use them. Those 36 women went through a total of 41 frozen embryo transfers which resulted in 12 live births.  None of those who froze their eggs after the age of 40 had a baby. 82% of the babies were born to women who froze their eggs between the ages of 36 and 39 years of age. This research therefore suggests that egg freezing is a viable option for having children later in life but it’s not a ‘fail-safe’ way of preserving your fertility.  This research indicates: One step closer to closing the gender data gap We are immensely proud to have our doctors flying the flag with such important research. This research directly arms our doctors with the most up-to-date research for patient consultations.  It’s another small step forward in our universal understanding of female reproductive health and a giant step towards empowering the lives of women everywhere to have kids (or not) on their terms.  Read the full paper here.  References:  Kasaven, L.S., Jones, B.P., Heath, C. et al. Reproductive outcomes from ten years of elective oocyte cryopreservation. Arch Gynecol Obstet306, 1753–1760 (2022).

Research News: Fertility Preservation Outcome Study in Cancer Patients-image

Research News: Fertility Preservation Outcome Study in Cancer Patients

Recent research conducted by some of our Hertility Team, led by one of our co-founders Dr Natalie Getreu, has been published in the Fertility and Sterility Journal. Fertility can be affected by cancer and cancer treatment to such an extent that women may have reduced family planning options once they’ve completed their treatment. Although, records of the success of fertility preservation methods in cancer patients are not routinely collected by hospitals, fertility clinics or researchers. Instead, when it comes to egg and embryo freezing, clinicians routinely use success rates from patients that have undergone fertility preservation for social reasons as opposed to medical reasons. Therefore, our research team aimed to look into pregnancy outcomes in cancer survivors who had used their frozen tissues to provide more up-to-date and relevant information for these patients. Check your fertility The results revealed that between fertility preservation methods: egg, embryo or ovarian tissue freezing, there was no significant difference between these methods for women to have live births after pregnancies. At Hertility we are so proud to not only offer new and different care pathways for women but also to be home to so many amazing researchers. So we thought in this article we would take you through the research, and the findings and explain them to you. After all – knowledge is power! First up, let’s recap on fertility preservation…. We’ve already published an article that covers all the different types of fertility preservation for people with ovaries but here is a brief sum up: There are both medical and social reasons to undergo fertility preservation.  Medical fertility preservation means preserving parts of your fertility in people who might lose their ability to reproduce due to upcoming medical treatment, for example, cancer patients about to undergo chemotherapy/radiotherapy or people undergoing gender reassignment surgery, or for some who have an autoimmune condition that want to protect their fertility. Whereas, social fertility preservation is when you are opting to freeze your eggs because of social and age-related factors. There are several different fertility preservation methods, some of which include: Egg freezing – This is what it says on the tin: collecting your egg cells and putting them on ice for later use. Embryo freezing – This process involves fertilising your collected egg with IVF using either donor’s or your partner’s sperm and then the resulting embryo is frozen until you are ready to use it. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation – This method is created mostly for younger patients who have not yet gone through puberty and are therefore not able to fully mature their egg cells. Tissue containing immature eggs is cut from their ovaries and is preserved in a tissue bank until the tissue can be re-implanted and used at a later stage, however, this is not routinely used for the general population. There are more fertility preservation options but in this study, researchers only included cancer patients who had undergone oocyte, embryo or ovarian tissue cryopreservation (freezing) What did this study do? Researchers followed cancer patients that had both fertility preservation and then had fertility-damaging cancer treatment (gonadotoxic therapy) who were now looking to start a family using their cryopreserved oocyte, embryo or ovarian tissue. The main outcomes this research looked at were if there were clinical pregnancies (clinical signs of the foetus can be either seen or heard), miscarriages (pregnancy loss) and live birth (completed pregnancies that result in a live birth). What were the results? This study found that between fertility preservation methods: egg, embryo or ovarian tissue freezing, there was no significant difference between these methods for women to have live births after pregnancies. (In science it’s all about whether a difference is significant or not!).  Also high clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates were observed in all techniques. They also found that freezing ovarian tissue results in significantly less miscarriages than embryo freezing, which is interesting and is something to further investigate! What do these results mean? Like anything in science, there are limitations in the study and this research does report some limitations since it was an early analysis. However, this is a really important and interesting starting point in this area of research and for cancer-related fertility preservation.Researchers hope that this study helps to establish better reporting of outcomes in cancer patients and will encourage clinicians to use appropriate statistics and information to counsel women who find themselves facing a cancer diagnosis on their chances of biological motherhood. If you fancy having a read of the article yourself, have a look here! At Hertility, we are dedicated to revolutionising women’s healthcare, whether that be through improving care pathways, helping women receive answers about their bodies through our at-home tests or contributing to the Women’s Health research. It’s all part of our mission for a #ReproductiveRevolution.

What is AMH and What Can AMH Testing Tell Me?-image

What is AMH and What Can AMH Testing Tell Me?

Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) is a really important hormone for fertility. It can give insight into your ovarian reserve and how many eggs you have left. But what is a good AMH level for your age? Here’s everything you need to know about AMH levels.  Quick facts: What is AMH? Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) is an incredibly important hormone when it comes to fertility and overall reproductive health.  AMH is made by the small sacs, called follicles, in your ovaries. These follicles house your eggs. Because of this close relationship with your eggs, testing your AMH levels can therefore give you an insight into your ovarian reserve, or how many eggs you have at the time of testing.  We are all born with all of the eggs we’ll ever have. As we age, both our egg quality and quantity declines. This is due to both the natural ageing process and eggs being lost with each menstrual cycle. This happens right up until menopause when all your eggs are gone. As our egg count diminishes, generally so do our AMH levels, unless we have an underlying condition or lifestyle factor which is affecting our AMH levels (like PCOS).  What is a normal AMH level for my age? AMH levels will steadily decrease year after year from your mid-20s onwards. This occurs in tandem with your ovarian reserve declining.  After your mid-30s, AMH decline becomes much more rapid. It completely drops off as you near menopause (usually between 45 and 55 years old).  Although the overall levels of AMH by age is a general downward trend, each person has an individual rate of decline depending on genetics, lifestyle, medication and underlying conditions. What is a good AMH level? The higher your AMH the better, right? Well… not exactly. Like all of our hormones, too much or too little can indicate problems.  High AMH levels In general, higher AMH levels indicate a larger number of ovarian follicles and therefore a larger ovarian reserve.  However, some underlying reproductive health conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome PCOS are associated with high AMH levels too. PCOS can cause hormonal imbalances which can negatively impact your fertility. Symptoms of high AMH levels Generally, high AMH levels don’t have any specific symptoms. But if you’re experiencing any symptoms that indicate a possible problem with your cycle you should test your hormones including AMH levels to investigate the possibility of PCOS. These symptoms could be things like irregular or no periods, or any other PCOS symptoms like acne, excessive body or facial hair, hair thinning or loss.  Low AMH levels On the flip side, low AMH levels can indicate lower numbers of remaining follicles and therefore, a smaller ovarian reserve.  Very low AMH levels are often seen in premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), which is a condition where menopause occurs before the age of 40 or even when you are going to experience menopause. Ovarian surgery can also carry a risk of low AMH levels afterwards. Some lifestyle factors have also been linked to low AMH levels – smoking, obesity, and poor diet and nutrition—specifically insufficient Vitamin D levels.  How to increase AMH levels? Unfortunately, you can’t stop your AMH from declining with age. That being said, there are some lifestyle and diet changes that can improve your fertility.  Monitoring your AMH levels with an at-home blood test if you have low AMH levels and are actively trying to conceive, or wanting to do so soon is a good idea to understand your rate of decline. Additionally, if you’re worried about your future fertility but not ready to have kids yet, you may want to consider egg freezing. Or, if you have low AMH levels and are struggling with conceiving, IVF treatment could be a good option for you.  If you’re concerned about your AMH levels, you can speak to our Private Gynaecologists at any time. Our Doctors can help you with a care plan that’s right for you and your body.  Do AMH levels fluctuate? Unlike your menstrual hormones which are cyclical, meaning their levels fluctuate throughout the month, your AMH levels stay relatively stable throughout your menstrual cycle. How do I know if I have normal AMH levels?  Testing your hormones is the only way to definitively know if your AMH levels are within the normal range for your age.  Doing an AMH blood test can give you an accurate insight into your current AMH levels, and give you an insight into your reproductive health because it is reflective of your ovarian reserve (egg count). Your AMH levels can also be used as an indication of whether you have polycystic ovaries, however, it can not currently be used to diagnose PCOS based on current guidelines. Understanding your AMH levels and ovarian reserve can also help to determine if you would be suitable for certain fertility treatments like IVF or egg freezing.  During fertility treatment, AMH levels are often tested to help determine the doses of medication and to predict the outcomes of the egg collection process.  Investigation of AMH levels is often done in combination with an Antral follicle count (AFC), which is an internal ultrasound scan where the number of small follicles seen on the ovary is counted. What is a good AMH level to get pregnant or to have IVF? Successfully getting pregnant is not entirely dependent on your AMH levels and ovarian reserve. Other factors can affect fertility such as: There is, therefore, no evidence of a good AMH level to increase the likelihood of pregnancy.  The success of IVF treatment is also dependent on many different factors. However, there is evidence that an AMH level lower than 5.4 pmol/L may have a poorer response to fertility medications. This is why some NHS IVF clinics will not accept patients who have an AMH level lower than this threshold.   Resources:

Egg Freezing Process: What is it and is it Right For Me?-image

Egg Freezing Process: What is it and is it Right For Me?

Egg freezing is a fairly new procedure, allowing you to preserve your fertility. But what exactly is egg freezing and what does the egg freezing process entail? Read on to find out. Quick facts: Egg freezing There’s no doubt about it, egg freezing has become a biology buzzword. And with good reason too.  Egg freezing can be a great option for many people, including those of us who want to become parents one day but aren’t quite ready to take the plunge just yet. Or those who have a reproductive health condition that could affect their fertility.  But what exactly is egg freezing? And how do we know if it could be right for us? Before we jump into the egg freezing process, let’s quickly recap on why we even need egg freezing in the first place. What is your ovarian reserve? As people with ovaries, we’re born with all the eggs we’ll ever have—known as our ovarian reserve. Unlike men, who produce sperm throughout their life, women have a limited supply of eggs.  We are all born with around 1-2 million eggs but by the time we hit puberty, we have around 300,000 left and this slowly declines as we get older. This decline increases more sharply post the mid-30s. Unfortunately, as we age, both the quality and quantity of our eggs decline (cheers biological clock). This means that as we get older, we stop ovulating as consistently and the eggs we do release aren’t quite the spring chickens they once were. So, as we age and our ovarian reserve declines, getting pregnant naturally also becomes harder. What is egg freezing? Egg freezing is what’s known as a ‘fertility preservation method’ that quite literally involves putting your eggs on ice for later use. Egg freezing involves using fertility medication which stimulates your ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs. Those eggs are then removed from your ovaries and frozen and stored in a laboratory, until you’re ready to use them. Eggs are frozen in what’s known as an ‘egg freezing cycle’. You may want to do multiple rounds to increase your chances of retrieving a larger batch of healthy eggs.  How many eggs can you freeze in one cycle? The number of eggs you can freeze in one cycle depends on how many eggs you’ve got left, how well you respond to the fertility medication and how successful the retrieval is.  Some retrievals will, unfortunately, yield no eggs that are suitable for freezing. Whilst in others, you may be able to retrieve dozens of eggs.  The whole process is what’s called an ‘egg freezing cycle’. We will explain each stage in detail below. It’s important to note that egg freezing is not a fail-proof method and its success relies on healthy eggs. The egg freezing process Step one: Blood tests and scans First things first, you’ll undergo several different blood tests to check your reproductive hormone levels as well as testing for infections like HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.  Testing your Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) levels can also give you a good initial indication of your ovarian reserve and how viable egg freezing is for you. You will also have a pelvic ultrasound scan to assess your ovarian reserve better by having a look at the number of follicles in your ovaries, known as the antral follicle count (AFC) i.e. an estimate of your egg count.  This step is also essential for deciding if this process is right for you and whether you have enough eggs to successfully do an egg freezing cycle.  Step two: Ovarian stimulation Depending on the results of your blood work and scan, your doctor will work out the best protocol, dosage of medication and how many cycles you might need.  You’ll be given fertility medication that will stimulate your ovaries. Your ovaries usually mature and ovulate only one egg during each menstrual cycle, but this medication encourages them to mature more eggs so multiple eggs to be retrieved.  During this simulation period, which is usually around two weeks, you’ll need to attend pelvic ultrasound scans and take blood tests regularly to monitor the growth of the follicles which house your eggs.  When your doctor thinks your eggs are ready, you’ll be given a ‘trigger injection’ which matures your eggs fully, readying them for collection. The timing of this injection is important and the egg retrieval usually happens 36 hours afterwards. Step three: Egg retrieval It’s time to collect those eggs. You’ll undergo a minor egg retrieval surgery performed under general anaesthesia or sedation. A long, thin ultrasound-guided needle is inserted via your vagina to retrieve your eggs.  You can go home after an hour or two of the procedure. Some people do return to work the next day, while others also rest the day following the retrieval. You might feel slight pain or discomfort and notice some spotting after the procedure. Your doctor will guide you on aftercare. Step four: Freezing, storing and thawing Once your eggs have been collected, they’re passed onto an embryologist who checks they’re all good to go. They will then freeze (cryopreserve) your eggs in a method called vitrification. Your frozen eggs will be stored in your fertility clinic to be later thawed whenever you’re ready to use them. What happens when I’m ready to use my eggs? When you’re ready, your frozen eggs will be thawed, fertilised with sperm, either from your partner or a donor if needed, and allowed to develop into embryos in the lab before being transferred into your uterus via a thin, flexible catheter.  Sometimes people may opt to undergo add on testing such as genetic testing of the embryos before they are transferred to select the best quality embryo. This is not a required step, may not be recommended for everyone and may have an additional cost. Who is egg freezing for? Technically, anyone with ovaries. There are many, many reasons why we might decide to freeze our eggs. Maybe we’re worried about […]

16 Lifestyle Tips to Help Boost Fertility-image

16 Lifestyle Tips to Help Boost Fertility

If you’re looking to conceive soon, nutrition can have a big impact on your fertility and reproductive health—both positive and negative. Get to know which foods are natural fertility boosters and valuable lifestyle changes that can improve your journey to conception. Quick facts: Why are diet and nutrition important for fertility? As the saying goes, we really are what we eat. Our diets and nutrition impact almost all of our body’s processes—all the way from our metabolism to our mental health. But one often overlooked area is how food can impact our fertility. When trying to conceive, you’ll need a high-nutritional diet. This can increase your chances of conceiving and help to create a healthy home for your baby during their vital first 9 months. Even making small changes to your lifestyle and nutrition choices can go a long way. Here are 16 evidence-backed tips from our Registered Nurse and Associate Nutritionist, Emily Moreton to help prepare your body for pregnancy. You can also book an appointment with a Hertility Nutritionist for a personalised plan. 1. Follow a Mediterranean-style diet Whilst there are no specific guidelines for a recommended fertility diet, the Mediterranean diet, is associated with improved fertility in both women and men. Known for its abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and healthy fats, the Mediterranean diet is rich in antioxidants. These have been shown to protect sperm and eggs from DNA damage and oxidative stress. A study involving 15,396 participants, which looked at how different diets affect fertility, showed that sticking to the Mediterranean diet improved birth and pregnancy rates significantly, with a 91% higher chance of success. This diet is also high in fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals that support fertility and pregnancy. Think lots of veg, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, olive oils, avocados and oily fish. 2. Eats foods high in antioxidants Eating a diet rich in a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables can provide a wide range of antioxidants that support fertility and overall health. Think making a rainbow on your plate. Foods high in antioxidants include fruits (such as berries, apples, and citrus fruits), vegetables (such as broccoli, spinach, kale, and carrots), nuts, seeds, and whole grains. 3. Increase intake of plant-based proteins In general, you should focus on lowering your intake of red and processed animal meats and focus on adding plant-based protein sources into your diet.  This can include fertility-friendly and micronutrient-rich beans, lentils, peas, soya beans, and chickpeas. Plant-based protein sources help to support healthy ovulation and are high in antioxidants and nutrients, such as iron and fibre, which are really important during pregnancy.  Low iron levels can add to your tiredness or even could cause iron deficiency anaemia. Iron deficiency during pregnancy can increase the risk of pregnancy complications. It is also important to keep your iron uptake up postpartum too, to replace any iron lost at birth.  You’ll also find some protein in whole grains such as quinoa. If you are opting for plant-based meat alternatives (‘fake meats’), choose a brand that is not ultra-processed and low in additives. 4. Cut down on sugar Cutting down on sugar can be beneficial for fertility. This is because too much sugar can lead to insulin sensitivity, disrupting certain reproductive hormones and causing inflammation. Insulin spikes have been associated with poor egg quality and sperm production and could affect implantation. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2018 found that women who consumed two or more servings of sugary drinks per day had a 50% higher risk of ovulatory infertility compared to those who consumed less than one serving per month. Reducing sugar intake and opting for a balanced, low-glycemic index diet can help improve insulin sensitivity and overall reproductive health. Limit sugary foods and high glycemic index foods such as cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks, energy drinks, sweets, white rice and white bread. Check the labels for high sugar content. 5. Take pregnancy supplements Folic acid Folic acid is an important supplement during pregnancy because it decreases a risk called neural tube defects. This is a defect that can occur during the development of the baby’s brain and spine.  If you are currently trying to become pregnant, it is advised to take at least 400 mcg of folic acid supplement every day for 12 weeks before conception and for at least three months after conceiving. Some people are at an increased risk of their baby having a neural tube defect and so it is advisable to speak with your doctor as they may recommend and prescribe you a higher dose.  Prenatal vitamins Prenatal vitamins typically contain a combination of various vitamins and minerals that are important for both maternal and foetal health. While folic acid is a main component of prenatal vitamins, these vitamins usually contain a range of other nutrients as well.  These include iron, calcium, vitamin D and other essential vitamins and minerals needed to support maternal health and the baby’s development during pregnancy. Tip: More often than not, doctors will suggest taking prenatal vitamins instead of just folic acid supplements because they cover a wider range of needs for both mum and baby’s health. However, it’s essential to consult with your doctor to determine the most appropriate approach for your unique needs.  6. Take Vitamin D for pregnancy  A previous study has shown that both men’s and women’s vitamin D levels impact fertility and IVF results. It showed that Vitamin D supplements reduce risks for mums and babies, might prevent bone problems, and play a role in foetal development.  How much Vitamin D should I take? It’s recommended that all adults at all stages of life should supplement with 10 micrograms a day of Vitamin D, in the UK. This is particularly true if you are trying to conceive, or you are pregnant—so be sure to supplement right through from the preconception period to breastfeeding.  Prenatal vitamins often contain vitamin D, but the amount can vary […]

Why Should I Test My Hormones?-image

Why Should I Test My Hormones?

Hormones help to regulate almost all of the body’s processes, including reproductive health and fertility. Testing your hormones regularly can give you insights into your overall health and help you track changes in your menstrual cycle and fertility over time. Here we’ve broken down which hormones you should test and why.  Quick facts: What are hormones? Put simply, hormones are small chemical messengers that travel through the blood to different parts of your body. They help control many different functions from growth and development to metabolism, the menstrual cycles, fertility and mood, just to name a few. Hormones are made by special cells in the endocrine system. Some of the major endocrine glands are: Why are sex hormones important? Sex hormones are a group of hormones that help to regulate the female and male reproductive organs and fertility. They are important not only for reproductive health but for overall health too—often having multiple functions within the body.  The main hormones involved in the female reproductive system are:  Thyroid hormones can also impact your levels of reproductive hormones. Why do you need to test your hormones? Hormones are often involved in complex feedback loops with one another. This means if one hormone gets off balance, it can often disrupt the whole system and bring about multiple, often overlapping symptoms.  Our hormones are also changing constantly, as we age and in response to things like lifestyle factors, medications or external stresses. A change in your hormone levels could be the reason you’re feeling sluggish or slightly emotional, explain your irregular periods or why you’re struggling to get pregnant. Our hormone levels can give us insight into both our overall reproductive health, show our risk factors for certain conditions, explain any unwanted symptoms, or indicate the health of our ovarian reserve and fertility.  Which hormones should I test? Which hormones you need to test and monitor will depend on your individual medical history, symptoms, biometrics and fertility goals. Luckily, our Online Health Assessment is built on a proprietary algorithm that does the leg work for you, recommending you hormone panel personalised to you.  Let’s take a look at each of the main female sex hormones and what testing them could tell you.  Follicle-stimulating hormone One of the main hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle and fertility is follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Its main job is to stimulate your ovaries each month to mature a set of follicles (the sacs that house the immature eggs) into mature eggs.  If FSH gets out of balance, ovulation can be affected, negatively impacting fertility and causing irregular cycles.  FSH levels increase with age. High FSH is usually an indication that ovarian reserver is declining and more FSH is needed to encourage your eggs to grow. This is why monitoring FSH can help you understand the health of your ovaries.  FSH levels will slowly increase with age as your ovarian reserve declines. When your ovarian reserve is finally depleted (and menopause occurs), FSH levels become substantially elevated. This is why FSH is used as an indicator of menopause.  Persistently high FSH levels in someone younger than 40, along with irregular periods and vasomotor symptoms, could indicate premature ovarian insufficiency (POI). This is when someone experiences menopause before the age of 40. FSH levels are usually not recommended as an indicator of menopause beyond the age of 45. Oestrogen (Oestradiol) Oestrogen is an important hormone for the growth and maturation of eggs and the thickening of the uterus lining each cycle. It’s also incredibly important for overall health, regulating bone, heart, skin and hair health, as well as mood.  Oestrogen is made by the ovaries, so monitoring oestrogen levels gives a good indication of how well your ovaries, and menstrual cycle in general, are functioning. Oestrogen levels will fluctuate and eventually significantly drop when your ovarian reserve becomes depleted and menopause occurs. Low oestrogen levels are therefore linked with many symptoms of menopause, such as dry skin and hair, vaginal dryness, hot flushes, brain fog, night sweats, difficulty falling asleep and fatigue.  Luteinising hormone (LH) LH is the hormone responsible for triggering ovulation, which is the release of the mature egg from an ovary each month.  If your LH levels are too low or too high, it can interfere with ovulation. High LH levels are often seen in those with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can cause irregular ovulation and issues with periods and fertility. Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH)  is a super important hormone for fertility and overall reproductive health. AMH is made by the small sacs, called follicles, in your ovaries. These follicles house your eggs.  Since AMH is made by the follicles, your AMH levels can therefore give you an insight into your ovarian reserve, or how many eggs you have at the time of testing.  We were all born with all of the eggs we’ll ever have, and as we age, both our egg quality and quantity decline. Generally, our AMH levels will decline with age as our egg count diminishes, unless we have an underlying condition or lifestyle factor which is affecting our AMH levels (like PCOS).  High AMH levels can be an indicator of polycystic ovaries and can be used to diagnose PCOS based on recently updated clinical guidelines. On the other hand, low AMH along with high FSH and low oestrogen is usually an indicator of low ovarian reserve.  AMH is often also used to predict someone’s chances of success during fertility treatment, such as egg freezing and IVF. However, it’s important to remember that AMH can only tell you about the quantity, and not the quality, of your eggs. Testosterone Testosterone can be converted to produce the wonder hormone oestrogen and is also associated with libido, maintaining muscle mass, vaginal health, breast health and bone health.  High levels of testosterone can cause symptoms such as excess body and facial hair, acne, and irregular or absent periods. These symptoms are often seen in women with PCOS which can cause high testosterone. […]