What To Expect At Your First Fertility Checkupby Katlyn Joy | March 29, 2015 11:34 AM
Infertility is something that happens to around 10 percent of women in their childbearing years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That doesn't mean it is only a woman's problem, however. They difficulties are with the woman and the man in equal proportion; 33 percent and the other cases are a mixture or due to unknown causes.
The perception may well be that fertility rates are decreasing, and many people take that to mean that infertility is on the rise. However, this is a bit misleading. Women are waiting longer, an average of four years later than women in 1970, in fact, and when we delay childbearing, we increase the odds of struggling to conceive since fertility rates drop with age. Today, 20 percent of women are waiting until 35 or later to have their first child.
Women are also delaying marriage more, and if a woman is on a educational goal or a career path and is not yet ready to start a family in her 20s, is she gambling with her chances at motherhood? That's a personal question, really. However, one fertility clinic is reaching out to these women in a unique way by offering fertility check-ups.
Most couples come to a fertility clinic after a year or so of unprotected sex and no successful pregnancy. But what if you are a young woman who is not yet ready to try to conceive, but wants to know what the outlook is, in order to make plans?
Who Should Get Fertility Testing?
Of course, you've probably heard a year of unprotected sex and no pregnancy means an official label of infertile. Who else should consider a fertility appointment?
If you are already in your 30s, your fertility is already waning. You may want a check up before even trying to get pregnant. Delay in seeking treatment lowers your odds of success.
If your mother had an early menopause, such as age 38 or earlier, it would be wise to have a screening to see if you may have a similar outlook.
If you know you have reproductive issues, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS, certain autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, or fragile egg syndrome, seeking a fertility check up would be wise.
What type of testing is available?
Blood testing. This is obviously not too invasive, and less expensive than many options and can yield some helpful information in most cases. One blood test looks at FSH or follicle stimulating hormones, and this number should be low ideally. The other tests for AMH or Anti-Malarian Hormone, and that number should be high. The AMH test is particularly helpful in that it reveals if your egg supply and quality is good. A score of 2 is good, while a score below one indicates a fertility problem.
How Much Does it Cost?
At one clinic in Illinois, a special fertility check-up package is available. For a couple will get a semen analysis for the man, the two blood tests for the woman, and an ultrasound. The ultrasound images the ovaries and indicates the health of the organs and the egg supply. While just is quite the bargain, patients should be advised this does not include the new patient consult. If you are a new patient, that will be credited towards the cost of the new patient consult. The results of this testing will give couples a fertility prediction, not promise.
For some people, it will give them time to decide if they need to investigate more options for conceiving such as fertility treatments, if they feel confident they can delay longer parenthood, or perhaps consider other life options such as living child-free or adopting. It's basically a way to help you investigate your choices and make an informed decision about family planning.
While a fertility check up isn't for everyone, it's important to consider those family planning options ahead of time for the best odds of being successful.
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