Fertility Tests Explained

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Understanding the Role of Fertility Testing

Fertility testing plays a crucial role in assessing reproductive health. These tests are designed to diagnose fertility issues and help in planning appropriate treatments.

By understanding the underlying causes of infertility, healthcare professionals can offer targeted interventions to improve the chances of conception.

Types of Fertility Tests

Tests for Women

Hormone level tests measure key hormones that play vital roles in regulating the menstrual cycle and ovulation. Understanding these hormone levels is crucial for assessing a woman's fertility health. The primary hormones tested include:

  • Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH): FSH is essential for ovarian follicle development and egg maturation. High levels of FSH can indicate a reduced ovarian reserve. Learn more about FSH here.
  • Luteinising Hormone (LH): LH is responsible for triggering ovulation. An imbalance in LH levels can affect the timing of ovulation, impacting fertility. LH levels are typically measured in conjunction with FSH to provide a comprehensive view of a woman's reproductive health.
  • Oestrogen: Oestrogen is produced by the ovaries and is crucial for regulating the menstrual cycle and preparing the uterine lining for pregnancy. Low oestrogen levels can lead to irregular menstrual cycles and may indicate issues with ovarian function.
  • Progesterone: Progesterone is produced after ovulation and is necessary for maintaining the uterine lining to support a potential pregnancy. Measuring progesterone levels can confirm whether ovulation has occurred and if the levels are sufficient to support early pregnancy.
  • Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH): AMH levels provide an estimate of a woman's remaining egg supply. Higher levels suggest a greater number of remaining eggs, while lower levels indicate a diminished ovarian reserve. AMH is a valuable marker for assessing ovarian reserve and planning fertility treatments.
  • Thyroid Hormones: Thyroid function tests, including TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), T3, and T4, are important as thyroid disorders can impact menstrual cycles and overall fertility. Abnormal thyroid levels may lead to issues such as irregular ovulation or miscarriage.
  • Prolactin: Elevated prolactin levels can interfere with ovulation and menstrual regularity. Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, and high levels can be a sign of pituitary disorders affecting fertility.

These hormone tests are usually performed through blood samples taken at specific times during the menstrual cycle to provide accurate and meaningful results.

Testing hormone levels is important for an overall view of fertility

Female Microbiome Testing

The vaginal microbiome plays a significant role in a woman's reproductive health. Microbiome testing involves analysing the bacteria present in the vaginal environment to identify imbalances that could affect fertility.

A healthy vaginal microbiome is crucial for preventing infections and maintaining an optimal environment for conception. 


Ultrasound imaging is used to view the condition of the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. It helps in detecting abnormalities such as ovarian cysts, fibroids, and structural issues that may impact fertility.


Hysterosalpingography (HSG)

Hysterosalpingography involves injecting a contrast dye into the uterine cavity and taking X-ray images. This test evaluates the patency of the fallopian tubes and the shape of the uterine cavity, identifying potential blockages or structural problems.

Tests for Men

Semen Analysis

Semen analysis is a fundamental test for assessing male fertility. It measures the quantity, quality, and motility of sperm, providing insights into potential issues affecting male reproductive health.

We have outlined more about male reproductive health, including more information about sperm quantity, quality and motility in our guide here.

Semen Microbiome Testing

The semen microbiome can influence male fertility. Testing involves analysing the microbial content of semen to detect any imbalances or infections that might impact sperm health and function. Maintaining a healthy semen microbiome is essential for optimal fertility and successful conception.

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing can identify chromosomal abnormalities or genetic mutations that may contribute to infertility. This information is crucial for understanding hereditary conditions that could impact reproductive health.

Semen analysis is a fundamental test for assessing male fertility

For Both Partners

STI Testing

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can significantly impact fertility for both men and women and are on the rise. Infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea can cause damage to the reproductive organs, leading to conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women and epididymitis in men, both of which can affect fertility. Regular STI screening and early treatment are essential to prevent long-term complications.

When to Consider Fertility Testing

Optimal Timing for Fertility Assessments

It is generally recommended to consider fertility testing after a year of unsuccessful attempts to conceive for women under 35, and after six months for women over 35.

Other circumstances include experiencing recurring pregnancy loss or unexplained infertility.

Impact of Test Results on Treatment Decisions

The results from fertility tests are pivotal in guiding treatment options. Depending on the diagnosis, treatments may range from medication to assisted reproductive technologies like IVF, tailored to address specific fertility challenges.

Making Informed Decisions in Fertility

Understanding fertility through testing empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. By identifying potential issues early, appropriate measures can be taken to improve the chances of conception.

Consultation and Further Testing

If you are considering fertility testing, consult with healthcare professionals for personalised advice and to determine the appropriate tests based on your specific conditions.

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