Any given medical process will be more effective if we count on an accurate diagnosis. Whether we are going to start a fertility treatment or if we want to know a woman’s fertile status, the female fertility tests explained below will be very useful. Read on and find out all the details.
This type of test will be different for each woman because the tests to be done depend on each patient, her specific conditions, her age and other variables that will be taken into account according to her particular needs. This is the best way to obtain useful results and is how it works in the vast majority of cases.
Which are the uses of female fertility tests?
Female fertility tests aim to find out how fertile the patient is and whether there are specific conditions that prevent or could prevent her from conceiving. In this way, the patient will be able to make the decision whether or not to initiate self-care or therapeutic measures for conception.
The truth is that there is no single test that can determine with absolute precision whether or not a woman is able to get pregnant. What can be done through this type of study is to measure some of the indicators that can reveal fertility problems.
The medical community finds that the most common causes of infertility in women have to do with ovulation problems, fallopian tube obstruction, endometriosis, age or chronic illness, for example.
Currently, there is a protocol for the study of female fertility in which, first of all, the state of the patient’s hormones is analyzed and an ultrasound scan is performed to observe her reproductive system. At this stage, serology for antibodies that detect infectious diseases is usually performed, so any other disorders such as sexually transmitted diseases, which could be the cause of sterility or the appearance of pregnancy problems at a later date, are identified.
The most frequent fertility tests
- Endometrial biopsy: This study involves the aspiration of the endometrial mucosa introducing a cannula into the uterus through the cervical canal. The aim is to identify abnormalities in the development of the endometrium.
- Hysteroscopy: This is an endoscopic examination in which an optical tube is inserted into the cervix to obtain a visual view of the uterine cavity. This study makes it possible to identify and diagnose possible alterations in the uterus.
- Basal hormonal study: This blood test aims to determine ovarian and hormonal function. It is typically performed on the third day of the menstrual cycle and focuses on analyzing certain hormones such as prolactin, oestradiol, FSH, AMH and TSH (continue reading to see meaning of abbreviations).
- Transvaginal ultrasound: This ultrasound test is performed to obtain information about the uterus and ovaries.
What do we call ovarian reserve?
As the years go by, women have fewer and fewer eggs available, and these are of increasingly lower quality, which results in a decrease in the chances of pregnancy. It has also been proven that with the passage of time the oocyte can experience damage to its genetic material, and this damage can be transmitted to the embryo. The oocyte also weakens as it ages, losing its strength to survive the stages of embryonic development. These are all factors that affect a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant.
By analyzing this situation, science has identified different markers of the ovarian reserve by which fertility parameters can be established in women. These markers help to understand more about the chances of pregnancy. Some of the most predictive are the detection of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) in the blood and also the ultrasound count of antral follicles. These markers will express the number of oocytes remaining in the ovaries, but will not be able to show the quality of the oocytes.
On the other hand, the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which is secreted by the pituitary gland (the gland in charge of regulating follicular growth), can give us more clues. When the hormone is more active than normal, this may be related to the fact that the number of follicles is decreased, so blood levels of FSH increase.
In the case of the anti-mullerian hormone, this is produced by the follicles and its level in the blood is a direct reflection of the number of oocytes. If there are more oocytes, there will be a higher level of hormones. Transvaginal ultrasound is the study that allows the follicles growing in the ovaries to be identified and counted.
If what appears is a low ovarian reserve, then a more complete study can help us to establish the causes and thus design a personalised treatment to achieve the desired results.
Is there an age limit for fertility?
Generally speaking, female fertility peaks in the twenties. From this age onwards, fertility begins to decline, with an even more accelerated decline from the age of 37 and then slowing down even more after the age of 40.
From the age of 40 onwards, the ability to achieve pregnancy decreases and the risk of miscarriage increases until it becomes really difficult to achieve pregnancy. If you are at this age and are looking to become pregnant, you can undergofemale fertility tests so that a professional can analyse the results and recommend an appropriate reproductive treatment. At this point it should be noted that reproductive medicine is continually advancing and the possibilities for becoming a mother are becoming wider and more diverse.
As we have already mentioned, there are more and more treatments available and technology is advancing to offer solutions that are more and more within reach. What always remains the same is the idea that all treatments will be more effective if they are carried out with accurate information.
If you need these tests, do not hesitate to contact us, we are at your disposal to help you with whatever you need. At Ambar we carry out clinical reference analyses and we manage them so that they can be integrated in a flexible and agile way helping you to make the studies easier for both you and the health professionals who accompany you during this process which, we know, can be somewhat complicated for many people.