One of my coaching clients, lets call her Jane, asked me about some information regarding fertility. She was addressing her concerns at being 37, and not being in the right place in her relationship to start trying for a baby, even though the topic was on the table.
One of the first things we can do is just have a couple of simple blood tests to create a baseline to work from. It will give us an understanding of where we are in terms of our fertility.
Testing the FSH levels. The Follicle Stimulating Hormone, stimulates the growth of the follicle to become an egg. The harder the hormone has to work to stimulate this growth, the higher the hormone reading will be. High is not good. When all is working smoothly the FSH levels will be at a lower level. If the reading is high, your RE (reproductive endocrinologist) or your OB/GYN will always read it as this level, even if you get a better reading the next time you have the test. They are looking at worst case scenario. I won’t give an indication of the levels for the readings as different clinics seem to use different methodologies. Ask your doctor to explain which one he uses, and how it works. From this test, it will indicate the quality and quantity levels of your eggs/follicles.
Estradial Testing, is to test the level of your Estrogen Hormone. This is important for the lining of the uterus to thicken when trying to fall pregnant.
LH Testing, or the Luteinising Hormone, indicates the level of the hormone when ovulating.
Your doctor will also give you an internal exam / ultrasound to see that your uterus etc is all looking okay.
Your doctor might also ask you to go for an HSG (a Hysterosalpingogram) which is an x-ray using a contrast dye flowing through the uterus and fallopian tubes, to see if there are any blockages or abnormalities that might prevent pregnancy. It can be a little uncomfortable, but is tolerable, and doesn’t take too long.
This is a pretty basic explanation of what they can do to start with. Its not particularly invasive and may allay fears or at least give you a picture of where you are in your fertility at this point in time.
Also consider your what your values and needs are. My client wants to be married before she tries for a baby. She wants to try for her own biological baby. She knows that if it works out that the timing isn’t right that she would be okay with this, as she sees her life as full and wonderful with or without children. These are great questions to ask yourself.
PS. If you are starting your journey and would like support and guidance along the way, consider joining the Fertile Foundation Powercircle starting at the beginning of November. See previous post on the Fertile Foundation Powercircle. This is an opportunity to take charge of your fertility.
PPS: If you would like more information generally, have a look on the Resources page.