Men and women have different development steps for reproductive cells (egg/sperm). Although men can create new sperm cells during their life time, women have an egg reserve that diminishes with age and the reserve is determined at embryonic life so whilst they are in their mothers’ womb. The consumption rate of the eggs is very individual and there are fertility tests for women that can be carried out so women can see their current fertility status and if there is any signs of a low egg reserve risk, these tests can show this early on. An ultrasound scan is one of the crucial tests to check the number of antral follicle(s) as well as fertility blood tests. Having these investigations is an important fertility awareness method and key fertility assessment for women of an advanced age i.e. 35 years and over.
What are the fertility blood tests for females and is there a specific day of the menstrual cycle to have the tests?
The fertility blood tests are FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), LH (Luteinising hormone),E2 ( Estradiol) and Progesterone hormones are cycle dependent tests. FSH and E2 levels were used for fertility assessment at the early day of the menstrual cycle in the past but because they are cycle dependent. The tests that are now not cycle dependent anymore are AMH (anti müllerian hormone) and this is widely used as one of the main fertility assessment tests for female fertility. It is an objective method to see the ovarian reserve women have. If an AMH level is under limit ( which is mostly under 1 ng/ml) it shows the risk for ovarian reserve and allows women to make their future plan such as fertility egg freezing, freezing embryos or planning to become mother as soon as possible.
What can affect the female fertility?
The most important factors for female fertility is age. With aging the ovaries contain less antral follicles. Also genetics is very important, some genetic diseases may cause early ovarian reserve (egg) problems. Some medical conditions such as fertility endometriosis or previous ovarian surgeries/chemo or radio therapies are important and can affect fertility. Also lifestyle is important; we know smoking/tobacco products can cause ovarian damage while healthy fertility diet plan / fertility enhancing foods may help improve quality.