Infertility affects some 15% of the reproductive age population, which is currently estimated at 7.5 million people. Because of the high prevalence of this disease, as well as media and online attention to the problem, young women and men are becoming more aware and educated regarding their own fertility potential. A Fertility Awareness Checkup can be an easy and beneficial next step in helping couples understand their current fertility potential.
At Fertility Centers of Illinois, our Fertility Awareness Checkup is a simple combination of four tests to check for ovarian reserve and semen quality. The cost is $90, and a nurse will call with results within one week. If the patient decides to further consult with a physician, the fee is credited towards future treatment services.
The Fertility Awareness checkup includes three different tests for women and semen analysis for men.
Testing for Women
The single most important factor in predicting pregnancy is the age of the female partner. It is commonly known that as age increases, the chance of pregnancy decreases. At the same time, the rate of spontaneous miscarriage and chance of having a child with chromosomal abnormality increases as a woman ages.
Women today are waiting longer to get married and to have children. A recent study by the CDC showed that women in the U.S. and other developed countries are waiting significantly longer before becoming pregnant than women of a generation ago. The average age of first-time mothers in the U.S. jumped from 21.4 in 1970 to 25 in 2009. The average age of marriage has similarly increased from 23 in 1970 to 28.2 in 2010. As women choose to delay marriage and childbearing, the likelihood of future infertility increases. The monthly chance of achieving pregnancy gradually but significantly begins to decline at age 32 and decreases more rapidly after age 37.
During your Fertility Awareness checkup, we will look at your ovarian reserve. Your ovarian reserve refers to the ability of your ovary to provide egg cells that are capable of fertilization, resulting in a healthy and successful pregnancy.
There are several methods to test for ovarian reserve.
“Day 3” FSH
This blood test can be done between day 2 and day 4 of your menstrual cycle. The “Day 3” FSH blood test measures ovarian function and correlates to fertility potential. FSH is the acronym for Follicle-Stimulating hormone. This hormone is released from the brain and stimulates the ovary to mature an egg. FSH levels increase as your supply of eggs decreases.
Your Estradiol level helps validate the FSH level. The best time to have these tests performed is between day 2 and 4 of the menstrual cycle.
During your same visit, we will also perform a vaginal ultrasound which will help measure the ovaries, uterus and number of follicles on the ovary through an antral follicle count (AFC).
Testing for Men
Since male infertility comprises approximately 40% of all couples with difficulty achieving pregnancy, a semen analysis is an important step in assessing male factor fertility. In order to get accurate results, men must abstain from sexual activity between 2 to 5 days before producing the specimen. An abnormal test will most likely result in a recommendation to repeat the semen analysis with further follow up as indicated.
These tests can provide an overview of your fertility potential, and will assist us in creating a treatment plan that will help you achieve your dream of parenthood.
Dr. Meike Uhler is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, and she has been practicing medicine since 1992. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University in Chicago, followed by a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at University of California, Los Angeles. Most recently, Dr. Uhler was Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology on the faculty at Loyola University School of Medicine. Her research interests and scientific publications focus on the evaluation and treatment of female and male infertility.