The Power of Know

Why Do I Need a Fertility Profile?

Do you want a baby someday but aren't ready just yet? You're probably building your career, still looking for the right partner, or enjoying some one-on-one time with your love before jumping onto the baby bandwagon. You've been told you have plenty of time - but do you really?

"Of course I have plenty of time," you're probably thinking. The truth is, women only have a finite number of eggs, and those eggs disappear quickly. In fact, recent studies have shown that by age 30, women have lost 90 percent of their eggs. There is a slow decline in fertility that usually begins in a woman's thirties. Sometime after 35, there is a steep dropoff in conception rates.

Men are not exempt from fertility decline either. While fertility doesn't decline as sharply in men as in women, men can still have decreased semen volume, sperm health and sperm speed, all of which can affect the chances of conceiving. In fact, about 30 percent of the time, male fertility issues will be the reason women can't get pregnant.

So what can you do? Fortunately, there are three simple tests for women and one for men, usually covered by insurance, that can define your "Fertility Profile" - detailed information about your reproductive health. The Fertility Profile concept was created by Dr. Elan Simckes, medical director of the Fertility Partnership in St. Peters, Mo., after years of seeing countless women devastated to learn too late that having a baby would be difficult or impossible simply due to age.

If your test results indicate that everything is normal, congratulations! Your odds of conceiving within a year of actively trying are good. You should repeat the tests every two years, though, to check for any changes that may affect your ability to get pregnant.

If your results are abnormal, don't panic - the results don't mean you'll never get pregnant. First, these tests are just a guide - plenty of people have conceived even though they don't have test results in the normal range. Second, modern technology and health innovations have opened up a whole world of fertility treatments that can help couples conceive. And it doesn't automatically mean you'll need in vitro fertilization (IVF). There are many treatments and procedures that can be done to help you conceive - some as simple as ultrasounds to monitor when you ovulate, then timed intercourse with your partner to maximize your chances.

So why is it so important to figure out your Fertility Profile at age 30? Because knowing is half the battle. Far too many women and men have waited well into their 30s and beyond, thinking they can always conceive, only to find that they cannot without extensive and invasive assistance that's emotionally, physically and often financially exhausting.

Don't hide from it or hope you can just ignore the issue. If you think you'll someday want a baby, take these simple tests to learn your Fertility Profile and make sure your dreams of conceiving have every opportunity to come true.



Recommended fertility tests for women at age 30

All of these tests can be done by your regular obstetrician/gynecologist or a fertility specialist

1) FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) test - a simple blood test on day 3 of your period will reveal your "ovarian reserve," the number of eggs remaining in your ovaries. Ideally, your ovarian reserve number will be less than 9. The higher the number gets, the more likely it is you may need assistance conceiving.


2) AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) test
- again, this is a simple blood test that can be done from the same blood drawn for the FSH test, meaning you only have to get your blood drawn one time to learn both FSH and AMH levels. Generally, a normal AMH test is between 1.0 and 3.0 is considered normal - numbers lower than 1.0 may again indicate a potential issue, although as with the FSH test, it does not guarantee you will have problems conceiving.


3) Antral follicle count - probably the single best tool for estimating ovarian reserve, this involves a vaginal ultrasound to count the number of immature eggs still available to develop into mature eggs that can be fertilized. While a vaginal ultrasound isn't the most fun experience you'll ever have, it's not painful and only takes a few moments with a skilled and experienced doctor. An antral follicle count of 15-30 is considered normal.


Recommended fertility test for men at age 30

1) Semen analysis - it's usually not something men even want to think about doing, because it goes to the very heart of their feelings about their manliness. However, if there is a problem with their sperm, it's helpful to know as soon as possible, because there are many treatments that can help correct the issues they may face. The test is simple and can be done by any urologist - the man provides a sperm sample obtained through masturbation, and a lab analyzes the sperm to determine the amount of sperm produced as well as the number and quality of sperm. For semen volume, a normal amount is 2-6 milliliters (mL). A normal sperm count is at least 40 million sperm per sample. With quality, a good result will show that more than 70 percent of the sperm have normal shape and structure (morphology), and more than 60 percent of the sperm will have normal forward movement.


Recommended test for women with history of pelvic/abdominal infection (including chlamydia, gonorrhea, ruptured appendix) or major pelvic/abdominal surgery

1) Hysterosalpingogram - a test that is done in a radiology suite, at a hospital or private center. A small tube is placed into the uterine cavity and then dye is injected while the spread of the dye is seen and recorded on x-ray. Abnormalities of the uterine cavity - where your embryo will land - can be identified and later fixed if needed. Also, if your fallopian tubes are blocked or are abnormal in any way, or if the x-ray fluid doesn't spread normally in the pelvis, this will be seen and steps to deal with these issues can be taken.

 

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Fertility Partnership

5401 Veterans Memorial Parkway
Suite 201 Saint Peters, MO 63376
For more information:
info@fertilitypartnership.com

p: 636.441.7770

tf: 800-BABY-TODAY