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Essential Testing For Your Fertility

Essential Testing For Your Fertility

You may have many questions such as how does age affect my fertility?

What is a good fertility clinic in the UK?

How do I cope with secondary infertility?

First I want to give you crucial advice about Testing

You are ready to embark on my fertility journey, what tests should you start with?

As a fertility coach I understand navigating the world of fertility testing can be overwhelming and bewildering for many individuals and couples. Whether you are just beginning your fertility journey, wish to add to your existing family or have been struggling with infertility for some time, understanding the common tests used to indicate fertility is crucial in finding answers and seeking the fertility support you need. Fertility and overall health are inextricably linked, so along with the tests discussed below, it is advisable to get updated blood tests relating to any specific conditions you may have to get the complete picture of your personal health.

 

Basic Blood Test and Metabolism Markers

 

One of the steps in my Fertility Coaching or if you choose to go to a Fertility Clinic in the UK is a medical history and gynaecological assessment. This helps me as your fertility coach to understand any underlying health conditions that may be impacting your ability to conceive.

A good place to start is with a complete blood count, metabolic panel which includes kidney and liver function, a complete thyroid panel and tests to measure your blood sugar regulation such as fasting insulin and glucose levels. Stress is a major factor impacting fertility, this can be particularly common in secondary fertility when you have a toddler running around, so be sure to get your cortisol levels checked. Fatty acids are another good thing to look at, as it is essential to have adequate levels of all the omega fatty acids to conceive and carry a pregnancy.

 

Key Hormones

 

Hormone levels can provide valuable insight into your reproductive health and even more important than the numbers alone, having the correct ratios of hormones is crucial for reproductive success. If your ratios are out of balance, an experienced practitioner can assist you with bringing them back into the optimum levels. As a fertility coach I will help you to understand these results.

 

  • Oestrogen – The most commonly known female hormone which gives women their secondary sex characteristics. Having high enough oestrogens is critical for reproductive success.

  • Progesterone – The hormone responsible for the second half of the menstrual cycle and carrying a pregnancy to term, progesterone levels must also be optimal to optimise fertility.

  • Testosterone – Often thought of as only a male hormone, testosterone is essential for many functions in the female body, but too much testosterone suggests androgen dominance reflected in conditions such as PCOS, and too little leads to loss of muscle mass, stress dysregulation, libido, and has a negative impact on fertility.

  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) –  associated with reproduction. This test measures the amount of LH in the blood. Because it helps stimulate the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation) in women, the test is used to pinpoint the cause of infertility, identify possible pituitary disorders, and diagnose conditions that impact the function of the ovaries.

  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) – is associated with reproduction and the development of eggs and sperm. This is done as a blood test. FSH is made in the pituitary gland.

  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) – is a measure of the reserve of eggs left in the ovaries. This level declines with age but should never be taken in isolation.

Along with standard blood tests, hormones can also be assessed via the DUTCH Test. Dutch stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones and shows the metabolites of cortisol, androgens, oestrogens, progestogen and androgen. The DUTCH test can offer the most complete picture of hormone activity in the body and can be interpreted by a qualified practitioner.

 

STDs and Chronic Viruses

We don’t often consider the presence of viruses or other chronic infections, especially sexually transmitted diseases, as an impactful factor on our fertility, but these pathogens can severely affect reproductive health. Knowing which viruses you may be dealing with and how to treat them is an empowering way to greatly improve your chances of a successful pregnancy. Epstein Barr Virus that causes mononucleosis, is a member of the herpes family which can disrupt the immune system and cause other systemic issues and is detected in a blood test of antibodies. EBV can be successfully managed and brought into a state of non-reactivity with certain herbs, antivirals, and other holistic modalities. In addition to EBV, it’s advised to test for Rubella, Hepatitis, Herpes simplex I and II, HIV, and HPV (cervical screening).

Mold, Toxins, Emotions, and Other Endocrine disruptors

Certain toxins can impact fertility such as indoor mold, synthetic and chemical products, fertilizers and food additives, toxic emotions (read: bad relationships), and chronic stress. Emotional states are not something you can test for in a lab of course, but it’s important to take inventory of who and what you have been allowing into your life and if anything is taking too much of a toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing—it’s time to let go. As for physiological stressors, mold in the body can be analysed via the urine at certain speciality laboratories. Mold is a serious health hazard and mycotoxins are known to cause both male and female infertility. If you suspect there is a mold problem in your home and have been experiencing respiratory issues, sinus infections, gut problems, brain fog, dizziness, rashes, emotional lability, and fatigue, I strongly advise you to get a mold inspector to test your indoor air. Remediation can fix the issue, the sooner the better. See my article on toxins for more insight into this topic.

Holistic Health Assessments – gut microbiome, vaginal bacteria, and the risk of miscarriage

The vaginal microbiome is the community of bacteria, yeast and other organisms living in your vaginal environment. Research has shown that the vaginal microbiome balance is vital for IVF outcomes— those with low levels of good bacteria are less likely to become pregnant. Professor Dame Lesley Regan (tommys.com) writes, “Our researchers have already shown that low levels of a bacteria called Lactobacillus in the vagina are linked to miscarriage.” Imbalances in vaginal flora can lead to yeast infections (candida) on one end of the spectrum, and bacterial vaginosis on the other. An experienced fertility coach can point you to the correct practitioners to test your vaginal microbiome and pH.

Your gut can be considered the key to your entire bodily health. A gut microbiome test will provide you with a holistic understanding of the composition of microorganisms and bacteria in your lower intestine, which impacts everything from hormone production to nutrient absorption and neurotransmitters.

Hysteroscopy, HyCosy, and Other Visual Exams

In some cases, more advanced testing may be needed to pinpoint the cause of infertility. This can include procedures such as:

 

  • Ultrasound – may be performed to assess the health of the uterus and ovaries, as well as to monitor the growth and release of eggs during the menstrual cycle.

  • Hysteroscopy – which can be used to investigate heavy periods, unusual vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, repeated miscarriages or difficulty getting pregnant and diagnose conditions such as fibroids and polyps (non-cancerous growths in the womb).

  • Hysterosalpingography (HyCoSy) – to check the fallopian tubes for any blockages or abnormalities.

 

Tests for Men

 

At a Fertility Clinic an assessment would not be complete without the male factor, which primarily includes

  • Semen analysis. This test evaluates the volume, quality, morphology and motility of sperm, which plays a crucial role in fertility. A few other tests for men are:

  • Semen Microbiome test – can show any bacterial infection present which may be passed to your partner and visa versa. If present it can cause DNA damage or oxidative stress which increases the risk of early miscarriage. This can reduce the quality of the sperm and reduce the chance of a successful IVF treatment and or pregnancy.

  • DNA Fragmentation test – The development of a healthy embryo is initiated when the chromosomes from the female’s egg combine with chromosomes from the sperm. These chromosomes consist of strands of DNA deoxyribonucleic acid which can become damaged. Research indicates that sperm with high levels of DNA fragmentation have a lower probability of producing a successful pregnancy. A review of data on hundreds of semen samples shows that patients with a Dna fragmentation level of more than 30 per cent are likely to have significantly reduced fertility potential, including a marked reduction in term pregnancies and a doubling of miscarriages.

 

Age is also a significant factor in fertility, with a woman’s fertility declining as she gets older. Understanding how age can affect your fertility is important when considering your options for starting a family.

If you are approaching the age where egg freezing is on your mind, trying for a baby while dealing with health challenges, struggling with secondary fertility, or have been unsuccessful in achieving a pregnancy after trying for some time and are unsure where to turn for help, don’t hesitate to reach out to me as a fertility coach for guidance and support.

I am qualified, experienced and will be your fertility coach by your side if you choose to go to a fertility clinic in the UK or London I have specific knowledge that will help you.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and there are resources and treatments available to help you on your path to parenthood.

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