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If you’ve been trying to get pregnant and haven’t had any success, you might be concerned you have a fertility issue.
Women’s infertility can be caused by:
However, just because you’ve found it challenging to get pregnant doesn’t mean there is a serious problem. Stress, diet, too much exercise, and medications may also cause temporary infertility in women.
Most experts say that you should try for at least six months to get pregnant before you speak to your doctor about fertility. If you are over 35, it can take up to a year to conceive even if you are perfectly healthy.
But for many, six months or a year is longer than they want to wait.
If you are curious about your fertility but your doctor isn’t ready to look into whether there is a problem, an at-home fertility test can shed light on your ability to conceive.
Dr. Harshi Dhingra has an M.D. in Pathology.
She is a registered pathologist with over a decade of experience in diagnostic, clinical, research, and teaching work. She manages all aspects of pathology laboratory, including histopathology, cytology, hematology, and clinical pathology.
Currently, Dr. Dhingra is employed as faculty in a medical school and research center.
Female fertility testing checks for issues that cause infertility in women. The process usually involves several steps:
The doctor will take your complete medical history and ask questions about:
Doctors can use this information to determine the type of infertility you have and what is causing it.
After taking your history, the doctor will examine you for physical signs of hormonal imbalance and other clues that can help them identify possible causes of infertility.
During a physical exam, they will:
A gynecological examination can be performed as part of routine physical exam, or it can be done separately by a doctor.
Doctors use it to evaluate visible structures of your reproductive system:
Unusual lesions, odors, and vaginal mucosa can suggest the presence of hormone problems or sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Also known as a bimanual exam, it is when doctors examine the size and position of your cervix and uterus. It can help them detect tenderness or masses that are indicative of infection or other problems.
Depending on your medical history and examination results, the doctor will ask you to take hormone tests. They usually test for female hormones, such as:
“Some diseases such as diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, and polycystic ovarian syndrome may cause other hormonal imbalances that affect your fertility, thus making it difficult to conceive,” says Dr. Harshi Dhingra.
Women who have ovarian problems may be asked to take an ovarian reserve test. The test measures your anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and estimates the number of eggs left in each or both ovaries.
Doctors may request further tests to check for abnormalities in your reproductive system. These include:
An at-home fertility test is a type of hormone test that you can take from the comfort of your home. You can order these tests from reputable testing companies such as LetsGetChecked and Everlywell.
At-home testing kits are delivered to your home in discrete packaging, ensuring your privacy. These kits come with a sample collection guide.
There are two types of at-home hormone tests:
You can choose based on your comfort level. However, we recommend blood tests because they can measure more hormones.
After taking saliva and/or blood samples, you can send them back to the testing company. Results are usually available within a few days.
Below are the best at-home tests for women with infertility:
The hormone test from LetsGetChecked provides a comprehensive picture of female hormones, including:
According to Dr. Dhingra, this type of test can assess your fertility status.
“It’s mainly advised if you have failure to conceive, have irregular or absent menstruation, or if menopause is suspected."
Elevated FSH and estradiol may suggest poor ovarian function and low ovarian reserves. Increased prolactin interferes with ovulation, which might explain your infertility.
“LH testing is very useful when looking for a fertile window to conceive," she adds. A spike usually indicates that you are about to ovulate.
Thus, low levels of LH may prevent you from ovulating and make it difficult to get pregnant.
LetsGetChecked offers this at-home Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) test. It is a great option for women who want to know how how many eggs they have left.
The test uses a finger prick method to collect your blood sample. Dr. Dhingra says that blood AMH levels can help with several things, including:
Women who are approaching menopause may also have low AMH values. Hence, an ovarian reserve test can help diagnose it.
Overall, ovarian reserve testing is the most important assessment of female fertility. It can determine your reproductive lifespan.
“Women can learn about their reproductive potential and take appropriate steps that would protect their fertility. If you have a low egg count for your age, the doctor might suggest that you freeze your eggs,” says Dr. Dhingra.
This at-home progesterone test confirms if you are ovulating or not.
With repeated testing, it can determine if you are ovulating regularly. Dr. Dhingra explains this can be useful when you’re receiving hormone therapy and are trying to conceive.
“When an egg is released from the follicle, it becomes a corpus luteum and produces progesterone,” she says.
Otherwise, the test can tell your doctor if you have:
Health insurance plans are rarely proactive when it comes to fertility issues.
Most insurance companies only cover fertility testing after months of trying to conceive without success. So unless you want to pay for a professional test out-of-pocket, you might be stuck waiting six months or longer for tests that sometimes cost $1000 or more.
At-home tests are available for much less money and give you complete control over when to begin testing. It’s still important to discuss your options with your doctor. But if you want to move the investigative process along a bit faster, these tests are an option.
There are at-home tests available for:
At-home tests for fertility can be valuable, but they don’t tell you everything. They can’t even give you a clear answer on whether you are fertile or infertile.
They’ll provide you with a base of information that acts as a starting point for further investigation.
At-home fertility tests are also all hormone-based. These don't give you a complete picture of the health of your reproductive system.
They are a good supplement to an annual examination, but if your fertility issues aren’t hormone-driven, these tests don’t clear up anything for you. An at-home test provides information about:
These are all important factors in your fertility, but they are only part of the big picture. It’s always best to work with your doctor and discuss your options.
Some of the most popular at-home women’s fertility tests include: