Did you know that Spain is one of the countries in which women most delay becoming a mother? Currently, the average age for a first pregnancy is 32 years old, the second oldest in the world behind South Korea.
Furthermore, a third of women try for pregnancy after the age of 35, which carries with it certain problems. At this age, the average women is left with only 10% of her ovarian reserve and the quality of her eggs begins to decrease considerably. This means that many women end up turning to assisted reproduction techniques to have children.
For this reason, if you are thinking about becoming a mother it is a good idea to visit a clinic specialising in fertility to check your fertility and help you make the best plans for when and how to get pregnant. Even if you aren’t planning on starting a family just yet but you know you want to be a mum at some point in the future, fertility testing can be a good way to find out if have any as yet undetected conditions that may make conceiving naturally difficult, indicate your ovarian reserve and see if it is advisable to freeze your eggs for your future.
We should also bear in mind that although age doesn’t influence male fertility to the same extent as female fertility, men can also experience problems that reduce their fertile potential. These are usually related to the quantity, quality and morphology of their sperm. As such, it is a good idea for any couple wanting to have children that the male also undergoes this testing to rule out any problems of infertility.
TESTS USED TO STUDY FERTILTY
When a fertility study is carried out, different tests are performed to find out the reproductive prognosis. Read on to find out more about these tests and how they are done.
FERTILITY TESTS FOR WOMEN
- Transvaginal ultrasound: with this internal exploration, a specialist can evaluate the number of eggs that are developing in each ovary in the first days of each cycle. This is known as the antral follicle count (AFC). The ovarian reserve is considered to be good when between 6 and 10 follicles are seen. When over 12 antral follicles can be seen on the ultrasound it shows a high ovarian reserve. Below 6 is considered low. Additionally, the ultrasound can also be used to check there are no abnormalities or pathologies that could impede conception.
- Blood tests: the transvaginal ultrasound is accompanied by blood tests to evaluate anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
- FSH: generated by the pituitary gland. This hormone is responsible for stimulating the follicles so that they develop and mature in the woman’s ovaries. It is measured when looking for ovarian failure, menopause, polycystic ovaries or sterility problems.
- Anti-Müllerian hormone: is used as a measure of the ovarian reserve, which makes it fundamental to determine the level of fertility. This hormone is measured via a blood test and does not vary with the menstrual cycle. The average normal levels lie between 7.1 and 21.4 pmol/l.
- Medical history: all of these tests are complemented with a detailed medical history of the patient taken by the doctor, who will ask about any personal or family history, as well as about lifestyle and habits that could affect fertility or cause problems in the reproductive system. If there are any suspicions of problems, it is possible that further tests may be ordered.
FERTILITY TESTS FOR MEN
Male infertility is also a reason for difficulties in getting pregnant, so time must also be dedicated to a male fertility study. In addition to an analysis of the medical history, lifestyle and habits, the following tests are also performed:
- Semen analysis: this is an essential test to study male fertility. This analysis gives us information about sperm count, sperm quality and motility.
- Advanced semen analyses: if the results of the semen analysis are abnormal, particular abnormalities or conditions are suspected, or if there have been previous problems with fertilisation, a more advanced sperm analysis may be ordered, such as the fertile chip, sperm FISH or the triple sperm selection.
At Ovoclinic, we understand that starting a journey of assisted reproduction is complicated, on an emotional level and an economic level. To help, we offer you our Fertility Diagnosis pack for €99, so you can find out where you stand in terms of fertility, as a couple. When you start with the correct treatment, this price will be discounted from the total price of the treatment estimate.