One of the most frequent questions I get asked is ‘What Fertility Blood Tests should I get done?
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.
When you have a consultation with me, I can advise you which fertility blood tests are right for you based on your individual situation. However here is a general round up of the bloods tests I recommend.
Baseline Fertility Blood Tests to Check Your Fertility
These are the first set of fertility 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.
Progesterone – This hormone is vital to support an implanting pregnancy and if you have low progesterone levels you may struggle to conceive. 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.
Thyroid – Having an underactive thyroid is a common reason for infertility. As is hyperthyroidism, which can lead to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Get your TSH, T3 and T4 levels checked.
Prolactin – High levels of prolactin inhibit your production of FSH and therefore may supress ovulation. A high level of prolactin is often caused by a benign tumour that grows on your pituitary gland and sometimes by strenuous exercise, lack of sleep and certain medications.
Testosterone – testosterone is the male sex hormone but women naturally have low levels of testosterone in their blood stream. Women with PCOS often have high levels of testosterone and this can assist in diagnosing PCOS.
Rubella – Check that you are immune to rubella. Rubella (German Measles), if contracted in the first 3 months of pregnancy, can harm your unborn baby.
Folate – The UK Department of Health currently recommend that women trying to conceive should supplement 400mcg of folic acid daily as well as having a folate rich diet. Recent research has shown that some women carry a MTHFR genetic mutation, meaning that they are unable to activate folic acid. This has been linked to miscarriage and birth defects, among other things. Read more about MTHFR.
Secondary Fertility Blood Tests To Check Your Fertility
You may wish to discuss the possibility of further testing with your doctor. The decision whether to test for these conditions will likely be based on your current health etc.
Cortisol – This is your stress hormone. Stress can severely impact on your ability to conceive and if you are under regular stress it is worth getting this checked thoroughly.
Vitamin B12, 6 and D – It is very common for a woman to be deficient in certain vitamins but these are easily rectified with supplements.
Zinc – Zinc is vital for egg production and hormone regulation. Low levels of Zinc are linked to early miscarriage.
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) – Used in conjunction with testosterone testing to discover the cause of infertility
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 moat accurate if done in conjunction with an Antral Follicle Scan.
Once you have had your blood tests checked, part of my consultation is to interpret these for you and see if there are any areas that need tweaking to optimise your fertility. Why not make an appointment via Skype with me today to move you along your fertility journey? You can find out more about my consultation here.