- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
How to Test Your Fertility
Why You Might Want to Test Your Fertility
If you have been trying to get pregnant for over 6 months then you may be starting to get impatient or concerned that there may be an issue.
It is quite possible that there isn't a problem, as it often takes over a year to get pregnant and can be a bit longer depending on your age. However, if you have been trying for a while it is worth getting checked out by your doctor so that you can face any problems that might arise as soon as possible. Doctors will do a number of tests in a series of checks to see what is happening.
But if you are or 'advanced maternal age' which is classed as being over 35, or else you think you may have some issues, for example your mother went through early menopause, and you want to do a test at home yourself without having to go to the doctor quite yet, then there is an option for you.
Home Fertility Tests
So if you want to do some testing at home then there are two sets of home fertility tests that you can buy online.
The first is a test for the female partner which checks the level of FSH hormone in the body - see below for further details on this.
The second is a test for the male partner which checks on the viability of the sperm they are producing - also see below for more details.
Low sperm count can be a factor in a large number of couples who are having difficulty in conceiving and so this should always be tested if possible.
If you want to get tested yourself (or get your partner tested) then you can buy a male fertility test for home testing. There are a couple of different ones and the price reflects what they do. The more expensive ones test for sperm quantity as well as sperm motility which is an important factor in male fertility. Even though you might have many million sperm you need to know what percentage of them are actually not defective (as often a lot of them are).
Although these tests with additional information are more expensive they are still cheaper and easier than going to a fertility clinic for semen analysis tests, and you can do them whenever you want to. The link to the right is for a US product, check this link out for a UK Home Sperm Test.
A home sperm test is a good start to get an idea about the general numbers of sperm that you or your partner may have. Make sure to check the instructions as you may need to produce the sample after a couple of days of abstinence. Generally speaking a sample containing 20 million sperm is considered OK.
Female Home Fertility Tests
For women the test is based on the level of FSH in the urine (Follicle Stimulating Hormone). As a woman gets older and/or nears the menopause the levels of FSH increase (so higher levels are a bad thing). Therefore by testing the FSH levels on a certain day of your cycle (usually day 3) you can get an idea of how close to menopause you may be and hence the likelihood of getting pregnant.
When the levels of FSH are high then it is likely that you will ahve trouble producing good quality eggs.
This is a simple test that takes 30 minutes to give the results. Although the detection of FSH levels may not uncover all fertility problems, it is a good guide to whether or not a woman is able to get pregnant. Of course there may be other issues for example checking the fallopian tubes for blockages and treating problems like endometriosis and PCOS but this test is useful if you are over 35 in particular.
The test on the right hand side is for those in the US, check out this link for a UK Female Fertility Test.
Taking the Home Fertility Test Myself
I bought the female home fertility test and took both of the tests in it (the test I bought came with 2 test strips that you dip into a urine sample at different times in your cycle) and they came out with only a very faint line.
For these FSH tests, the lower the score the better so the lighter the line the lower the FSH count is. As I only got a faint line on the FSH test that was an indicator that my fertility levels were OK.
Subsequently a while after doing these tests I got an official FSH test done at the doctor and it came out at a level of 7.4, which is considered a normal level (i.e. not elevated). So the fact that the home fertility tests came out with pretty much the same indication leads me to believe that they are quite accurate, at least in my case.
What if the Test Results are Bad?
If you get a bad test result from either of these tests - i.e. a low sperm count or a high FSH level then it is advisable (if you haven't already) to get checked out by a doctor so that you can get an accurate analysis of the problem.
Getting tested will also clarify whether the home tests have been accurate and you will likely also be tested for other things.
The sooner you get tested for any problems and issued are identified, the sooner you can address them and get them sorted out.