Whether you’re looking to start a family now or in the future, or are just curious to know more about your reproductive health, fertility testing is the place to start.
Fertility testing looks at the various factors that control your ability to conceive, giving you more insight into your reproductive health.
To help you better understand what’s involved, we’re taking a look at when you should have your fertility tested, what tests are done and how best to do it.
Why you should test your fertility now
We ran a survey asking 395 people, aged 25 to 36, about their fertility – 41% of them had never thought about having their fertility checked.
Checking up on your reproductive health sooner rather than later helps you make important decisions at earlier stages in your fertility journey.
For example, fertility testing may help you decide whether you should start trying to conceive sooner than you had originally planned. Or maybe you’ll decide you have time to delay starting your family. In some cases, fertility testing prompts women to consider egg freezing as part of their plan to conceive in the future.
Good to know: If you’ve decided to have IVF, you’ll need to have your fertility tested at least 6 months before starting the IVF treatment process. This will help give a good indication as to your chances of success.
What tests are involved?
Male and female fertility tests give you an in-depth look at your fertility. Anyone in any sort of relationship can have their fertility checked, as can single men and women.
For heterosexual couples looking to understand their combined fertility, it’s important that you do your tests around the same time.
Fertility testing for women
Female fertility tests look at the factors that can affect your fertility, helping to assess your chances of falling pregnant, whether naturally or through IVF. Fertility testing for women includes:
- Blood tests - These help to give an accurate picture of your overall hormonal health and will also measure AMH levels to assess your ovarian reserve.
- Pelvic ultrasound scan - This scan evaluates the health of the female reproductive organs.
Fertility testing for men
Fertility testing is much quicker and less invasive for men than it is for women.
Male fertility testing includes:
Full semen analysis - This test helps evaluate sperm quality by measuring the concentration, movement and shape of sperm.
Where to get your fertility tested
There are a few ways you can have your fertility tested: through the NHS, with an at-home testing kit, or at a private clinic. Important factors to consider when choosing the best testing option for you are the cost, availability, accuracy and convenience.
On the NHS
Fertility testing is free on the NHS, but is only offered if you’ve been trying to conceive for at least a year without success. If you’re eligible for free testing, it can be a very slow process – it can take weeks to get your test appointment and then even longer to have a consultation to review your results.
More and more people are using at-home fertility testing kits as they’re so easy to do.
Although they’re cheaper than private clinic tests and quicker than going through the NHS, the test results may not be as accurate and comprehensive. It’s also important to remember many at-home testing companies don’t offer follow-up consultations and that certain tests like pelvic ultrasound scans are only available in a clinical setting.
At a private clinic
Private fertility clinics offer all the tests you need to get a complete picture of your reproductive health. As part of the process, you’ll always have your results interpreted and delivered to you by a fertility specialist. Although private fertility testing may be the most expensive, it’s likely the quickest and most accurate option if you’re not eligible for free NHS testing.
How much does private fertility testing cost?
Clinics may offer individual tests or packages so pricing varies. But generally, comprehensive fertility testing at a private clinic costs a few hundred pounds.
It’s always important to check which tests are included in your package. You want to make sure you’re getting all the information you need to make informed decisions moving forward.