If you’re trying to get pregnant and nothing is happening your thoughts may be turning to why and what you can do next. I always advise that the earlier you can take action, the better. Taking action can mean making positive lifestyle changes, feeling empowered with your body and taking the right supplements for you. However, I also recommend running some simple tests to check on your hormonal and fertility health. One of my most asked questions is ‘Which fertility blood tests should I have done to check if everything is ok?”
Well, the simple answer is – there is no simple answer! It really all depends on your general health, whether you have any conditions such as PCOS and how long you have been trying to conceive. However, below is a list of the general tests we may recommend if you have a consultation with us.
Baseline Blood Tests for Fertility
These are the first set of blood tests you should ask for. If you have recently started trying to conceive then this is a good place to start. Or if you have been trying for a while, it’s useful to get these updated.
Oestradiol, FSH and LH
These are your female sex hormones that are crucial for reproduction. Getting these checked gives you a useful baseline to ensure that your hormones are balanced correctly.
This hormone is vital to support an implanting pregnancy. This test should be taken on day 21 of a 28-day cycle, or 7 days post ovulation in a cycle less or more than 28 days. Doing the test on any other day will not give you a reliable result.
Having an underactive thyroid is a common reason for infertility and in particular pregnancy loss. As is hyperthyroidism, which can lead to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Get your TSH, T3 and T4 levels checked.
High levels of prolactin inhibit your production of FSH and therefore may suppress ovulation. Levels of prolactin are naturally high in women who are breastfeeding as this is the breastfeeding hormone. A high level of prolactin can be caused by a benign (non-cancerous) tumour that grows on your pituitary gland. Your GP will arrange further investigations if they are concerned about your prolactin levels.
The NHS recommend that all adults in the UK take a daily vitamin D supplement. Just because we don’t get enough sun which is the best way to absorb and improve our vitamin D levels. This is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding individuals. Checking your vitamin D levels when trying to conceive is a useful marker to see if you require supplementation and in particular, a higher prescribed Vitamin D dose from your GP.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone but women naturally have low levels of testosterone in their bloodstream. If you are concerned that you have PCOS then this would be a good test for you as people with PCOS often have high levels of testosterone and this can assist in diagnosing PCOS.
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
Used in conjunction with testosterone testing to discover the cause of infertility and to confirm PCOS.
Check that you are immune to rubella. Rubella (German Measles), if contracted in the first 3 months of pregnancy, can harm your unborn baby.
The UK Department of Health currently recommends that women trying to conceive should supplement 400mcg of folic acid daily as well as have a folate-rich diet.
Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)
The test gives an assessment of the remaining egg supply or ovarian reserve and is a useful marker for women over the age of 35. The test is most accurate if done in conjunction with an Antral Follicle Scan.
If you would like to find out more about your fertility health, why not book a Planning for Pregnancy Blood Test and Fertility Consultation or if you’re curious about your ovarian reserve, the Ovarian Reserve (Fertility MOT) Blood Test and Fertility Consultation with us.