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Fertility MOT: Should I Have One?

Fertility MOT - Should I Have One?

Are you trying to get pregnant? If so, you may have heard of a ‘fertility MOT’. But what is it and do you need one? Dr Amin Gorgy, Fertility Consultant and Co-Director of The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy explains…

Conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome – both known to cause fertility issues – can go undetected for long periods of time.  Add to that a diagnosis rate of 420,000 sexually transmitted infections in England in 2016 and a greater number of men and women delaying starting a family until their 30s and 40s, and we can see why fertility is such a hot topic.

We’ve spent so many years educating our children how ‘not’ to get pregnant that we have neglected at some point the bit about educating them ‘how’ to get pregnant, when the time is right. Protecting our fertility, looking after our reproductive health has, for decades now, been a casualty of the fight to bring down numbers of teen pregnancies. And it has worked. Teenage pregnancies have halved in number over the past eight years. But at the other end of the spectrum, a different picture is emerging.  

The overall fertility rate has decreased in the past year and for only the second time since 1947 women over 40 have been producing more children than those under 20. As we know, delaying pregnancy brings its own set of fertility problems. At 30 a woman will have a 20% chance of falling pregnant each menstrual cycle; by 40 this drops to 5%. And the male fertility issue is equally as pressing. Around 40-50% of infertility cases are due to the male factor.  

So whether you’re worried about your fertility or want to get a handle on your future family planning what can you do to make sure you’re prepared?

A fertility MOT is a great way to keep track of your fertility.  If you want an answer to the question; “how fertile am I?”, this is for you. As there are so many causes of infertility, it’s very hard to pin down why some women struggle to conceive and why some fall pregnant at the drop of a hat.  Certainly it’s not genetic. Although some conditions, such as endometriosis and PolyCystic Ovaries (PCO) can be passed down through the generations causing complications for those trying to conceive despite the symptoms.

Dr Amin GorgyDr Amin Gorgy, Fertility Consultant and Co-Director of The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy is an advocate for fertility testing in both men and women of any age, but warns us not to leave it too late: “At The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy, we believe clinicians should encourage younger women in their late twenties, especially, to have regular fertility checks and to freeze their eggs if they are considering delaying parenthood.

“It is true that while women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, men produce new sperm all the time. Because of this, many people believe that male fertility is untouched by age. Not true. Whether trying for a baby naturally or via assisted conception, the older a man is, the greater his chances of declining sperm count and sperm quality. These issues all lower the chances of conception.”

What Will A Fertility MOT Investigate?

A fertility MOT will investigate any issues that might give you cause for concern in the future, and can uncover issues that may be preventing you from becoming pregnant if you’re already trying. Whilst fertility testing is available on the NHS, certain criteria must be met in order to qualify. Private clinics offer fertility MOTs separate to their IVF packages and rates are reasonable.

You can either have a full test, or just the egg counting (ovarian reserve: Anti-Mullerian Hormone, AMH) test. The full MOT looks something like this:

  • Initial consultation
  • Transvaginal ultrasound, pain free investigation of ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes
  • Saline Hysterography (SIS) aka Aqua Scan to check for scarring and obstruction
  • Egg counting (AMH) – determining the number of eggs you have in reserve by testing levels of anti-Mullerian hormone
  • Consultation to explain results and findings and to discuss treatment options if necessary
  • Written report

Men will undergo a semen analysis – instead of SIS/AMH and transvaginal – to check number, motility and shape of sperm.  

The results from this procedure will give patients all the information they need to make sensible decisions as to their future family planning. From here, they can decide to start trying for a baby right away, look at procedures to treat ongoing medical issues, start IVF, or perhaps consider egg/sperm freezing to protect their future fertility.   

We can help you find a Private Fertility Clinic / Hospital, or a Private Fertility Consultant who can carry out a fertility MOT for you and/or your partner.

How Can I Help My Fertility?

There are some lifestyle changes you can make to help your overall fertility.  These include making sure you eat properly and have a good exercise regime to aid the proper functioning of your reproductive system; reducing the level of toxins in your body by cutting out processed foods, nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine to reduce the amount of oxidative stress in your system. Oxidative stress has been linked to diseases such as cancer and heart disease and can have a negative impact on your fertility.  

Some women swear by alternative therapies to protect help fertility levels, and whilst there is limited evidence to suggest that these are a contributing factor, their effectiveness cannot be dismissed. Treatments such as acupuncture have been proven to reduce stress and help to regulate menstrual cycles. Improving circulation and blood flow to the sexual organs is important for sexual health and alternative therapies can help with this too.  

The fact is that if you are ovulating, there is always a chance that you will get pregnant. Some women get complacent after giving birth, thinking that it will be a while before they can conceive again. However, as soon as your periods return, the possibility of pregnancy is back on the cards. Breastfeeding can inhibit your fertility as in most cases it will inhibit your menstrual cycle returning.  However, eventually hormone levels will balance out and your fertility will rise again.

Knowing how fertile you are at any given point is really important for making life choices. Delaying a family, starting a family, avoiding pregnancy are all highly relevant issues for both men and women of all ages. And yet we put so little time into understanding our sexual health and our fertility. Education and testing is the key to preventing unwanted pregnancies for sure, but they are also invaluable tools for preserving our fertility. Whatever end of the spectrum you stand, knowing more about your fertility is one of the most important pieces of information you can have.

Whether you’re just starting to think about getting pregnant or have been trying for some time, speak to Dr Gorgy to get the best possible advice and help with your fertility journey. Call 020 7224 1880 to book a consultation.

We would like to thank the team at The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy for providing their specialist knowledge for this article.

The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy

The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy
57A Wimpole Street
London W1G 8YP
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7224 1880
Email: info@fertility-academy.co.uk
Web: www.fertility-academy.co.uk

 

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