Having spent over two years trying to get pregnant, I spent a lot of time doing research and am sharing what I found out.
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 with you or your partner.
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.
Although getting checked out by a suitable medical practitioner is the best option to find out if there is anything wrong, you may also want to check certain levels of yourself and your partner at home, and there are ways of doing this.
Home Fertility Tests
There are a number of reasons why you may want to check your own fertility at home, including:
- You may be of 'advanced maternal age' - which is classed as being over 35, in which case your fertility may be naturally decreasing. I only decided to try for a baby when I was in my early 40s and so I decided to test myself at home to get an indication of my fertility levels.
- 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.
- Your doctor may not do any tests until you have been trying to get pregnant for 6 months or a year and you want to do what tests you can at home first to prepare yourself.
- You may only have a certain amount of time to get pregnant and want to ensure everything is working as soon as you can (e.g. partner deployment).
Therefore, if you want to do some testing at home, there are two sets of home fertility tests that can provide you with some preliminary results.
- The first is a test for the male partner which checks on the levels of the sperm they are producing.
- The second is a test for the female partner which checks the level of FSH hormone in the body and that is the one we are going to be looking at.
Female Home Fertility FSH Test
For women the fertility 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.
You can get this test done by your doctor, or if you want an indication of your FSH level you can buy a test to do at home, which is what I did.
The home test is a simple one that takes 30 minutes to give the results. It is very similar to a pregnancy test in terms of the fact that you just need to pee on a stick. Although the detection of FSH levels may not uncover all fertility problems, it is a good guide to whether or not a woman is still producing eggs.
I took this test because I was over 40 and wanted to check my FSH levels while I was waiting for a doctor's appointment for tests. When I took the FSH test the result came out with only a very faint line. This indicated a reasonably low FSH which is good.
Subsequently, a short 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 in my case the test was pretty accurate.
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 as that is when levels tend to be more of an issue.
If you get a bad test result from one of these tests - i.e. the test indicates a high FSH level then firstly you can repeat the test as the pack comes with 3 tests.
If you come up with the same result 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 any possible 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.
Also, you should not rely on these tests alone if you continue to have trouble conceiving. They are available just to give you an indication, not a definitive test result.