What is the Plan Ahead fertility test?
Fertility tests are becoming increasingly common, however the focus is just on the medical side and the results of the tests. We don’t believe that you can simply look at a test without looking at the person as a whole, so we’ve created a much more comprehensive and holistic approach to help women be more strategic about their fertility and help them plan ahead.
By looking at the individual’s all-round situation rather than just the test results, and by encompassing a five-step fertility assessment, we focus on:
- Medical history
- Nutrition and supplements
- Lifestyle including weight management
- Mental and emotional well-being
- Fertility fitness – making you cycle-savvy and aware of perfect timings for sex
This then creates a plan of action and next steps.
When should you use a fertility test?
Preparation has always been the philosophy behind the Zita West approach. “Plan Ahead” is ideal for:
- Women who want to prepare for getting pregnant
- For those who want a better idea of their fertility status
- Women who have been considering freezing their eggs
You can buy your kit here
How is Plan Ahead different to other fertility tests?
Before you have a consultation, we will send you a questionnaire to fill out. This is different from any other fertility questionnaire you may have come across, as while it does look at medical history, it also covers Zita’s 5 step fertility assessment.
1. Medical history
This looks at any underlying factors which may have an impact on your future fertility and includes an AMH test (Anti-Mullerian Hormone gives an indication of your egg reserves). It will help you understand the results and what they mean for you now and in the future, what your next steps need to be and how you need to plan ahead. The test is just a snap-shot of your fertility status and doesn’t tell us whether you are ovulating or if you have any particular adverse underlying issues. And it’s important to bear in mind that, by itself, it’s not a reliable or useful predictor of how likely, or otherwise, you are to get pregnant in the future; but it can be helpful as one element of an all-round assessment. As a follow on to the consultation, we may also suggest you have an Antral Follicle Count (AFC) scan, to count the number of follicles on the ovary. In which case, this would be an additional cost.
We believe that nutrition is the foundation to healthy eggs and sperm, so we look at a three day food diary to help optimise your fertility health. We see fertility as a whole-body event rather than something that simply happens in the fallopian tubes, but as the “Plan Ahead” session is a very broad-ranging review, we only cover the nutritional and lifestyle basics here. A detailed nutritional and lifestyle assessment and consultation can be arranged separately if you think this would be helpful. They can be arranged as video consultations as well as in person. This part of the consultation focuses on the basics of:
- Blood sugar balance
- Immune health
- Gut health
- Which supplements to take and when
Understanding the impact of lifestyle choices on your fertility and suggestions of tweaks you can make, looking at:
- Weight Management
4. Mental and emotional well-being
We fully believe in the mind/body/baby connection and how stress can affect fertility. This section of the consultation looks at stress factors and tips on how to manage the mind, looking at:
- Your lifestyle
- Work/life balance
Further mind-body related treatments and therapies (such as counselling, positive mind preparation or acupuncture) can be arranged as follow-ons. Counselling and mind-prep sessions can also be arranged as video consultations if you prefer. We have a national network of Zita West affiliated acupuncturists if you’d like acupuncture treatment locally.
5. Fertility awareness
Many women have been on the pill for a long time, so have many questions about their natural cycle. By understanding your cycle and crucially, ovulation, you can learn what to do to optimise this and your chances of conception.
What is involved?
The consultations will be done by Zita West or one of our fertility consultant midwives by phone, looking at the questionnaire you will have filled in beforehand. You’ll also be sent a kit with a finger-prick test for your AMH test. Your AMH results will be given to you within the consultation and explained to you in terms of your overall circumstances and a plan forward will be given. The AMH results come back with a reference range according to your age, and it may be suggested that you have a further test and an antral follicle count scan (to provide additional information) depending on the results.
Fertility isn’t black and white; there are lots of grey areas and this test is just one marker to look at. There are other factors to consider based on your history, and we look at your fertility holistically as diet, lifestyle and nutrition also play an important role.
Plan of action, support and the next steps
Women and couples need support to make decisions and an informed choice about what is best for them individually. After we have completed the consultation, you will receive advice on other additional tests and investigations if these are needed.
“Plan Ahead” costs £99.00 including a 30-minute consultation – you can buy your kit here
How to book your Plan Ahead
Complete the questionnaire you are sent with the kit and return the sample. Instructions are included for taking the sample, returning it and the questionnaire as well as how to book your follow-up consultation.
Consultations will be with Zita West or one of the fertility consultant midwives at the Zita West Fertility Clinic and will be conducted by phone.
***Please note: on some occasions other tests and investigations may be suggested, depending on your results***