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Fertility Testing-Stuff You Should Know

When trying to get pregnant it seems like there is so much stuff you should know and you almost feel silly asking certain questions about your body or cycle. Rest assured that you are not the only one that might have questions or might not even know what types of questions you should be asking. In most cases, we feel as if our doctor is going to let us know what is accurate regarding our fertility and what we can or should do to improve it (assuming you may have any issues).

The truth is that we are our own best advocates when it comes to our fertility and we need to take control of it by knowing the facts surrounding fertility. So today I would like to take a look at how fertility is determined and what research is saying today regarding fertility.

Getting Down To Basics

In my post Trying To Conceive I discussed the process of getting pregnant (menstruation, ovulation, implantation, etc.), but I would like to discuss your actual fertility. For women fertility is the ability to get pregnant and if you are over the age of 35 and you have been trying over six months (for women under 35 it is recommended to try for one year before testing), you may have to go through a series of testing.

The tests your doctors orders is dependent on his or her preference and practice. Given you have no other health issues general tests may include: ovulation testing, post-coital tests, ovarian reserve testing or ovarian function testing, and hormone testing. If these tests come back abnormal, further testing may be required (hysterosalpingogram/HSG, hysteroscopy, laparoscopy, and endometrial biopsy).


Ovulation Testing- If you are trying to conceive, you are probably already familiar with tracking ovulation using an ovulation predictor kit and basal body charting. When your doctor is testing for ovulation he or she will likely do a blood test and a trans vaginal ultrasound.on day 21 of your cycle.

Post Coital Test- This test is exactly what it says and is done to check your cervical mucous (CM). I was pretty embarrassed getting this done, but there pretty much wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do in order to have a successful pregnancy! The tests is checking the quality of your cm and if sperm is able to penetrate and survive it.

Ovarian Reserve Testing-This test is used to determine the quality of eggs a woman is producing. The three main hormones used in ovarian reserve or ovarian function testing are: follicle stimulating hormone/FSH, Estradiol, and anti-mullerian hormone/AMH.

  • FSH helps egg production and is the hormone that also helps control our cycles. It also measures the quality of eggs produced. This blood test is usually performed on the third day of your cycle.
  • Estradiol is also performed on the third day of your cycle. It is a very important form of estrogen used to determine the quality of your eggs.
  • AMH is tested via blood draw and used to determine the number and quality of eggs. This test can be performed at any time of your cycle.

How Fertility Is Determined

The tests mentioned earlier are all tests that are used to determine a woman’s fertility. The quality and quantity of eggs produced is a method used by mostly all RE’s to help a couple decide which route they want to take when deciding to have children. If you your AMH levels are low meaning the number and quality of your eggs are as well, you may decide to freeze your eggs or choose some other form of fertility treatment.

Unfortunately, finding out that your ovarian reserve is low can be very concerning and may cause you to worry. However, new research is saying that this type of testing really isn’t a good method to use when measurirng the ability to conceive.

What Research Is Saying

I read an article describing the use of AMH testing and that it is an unreliable way to measure a woman’s fertility. Now this research was one performed on 750 women between the ages of 30 and 44. These women had no known infertility issues. So please take that into consideration.

The study concluded that the number of eggs a woman has left has nothing to do with her ability to conceive. Nor does it mean that you will have any troubles in conceiving with lower numbers. A woman with a low AMH may have no problems conceiving while a woman with a normal AMH may run into difficulty. The main issue and obstacle in reproduction remains to be age.


While our fertility declines with age, keep in mind that this is a gradual decline. We read a lot of information that tells us it is all down hill after the age of 35. The truth is that fertility declines with age no matter. Do your research and look at the statistics on conception by age. Understand that the amount of eggs you have left is not as important as the quality of your eggs.

The quality of our eggs is what makes it harder to conceive as we get older. I always like to look on the bright side and remember that it only takes one. I am a big fan of science being able to help out couples in their journey trying to conceive. It is important that you know your options and understand what is involved when trying to have a baby. Especially if you have been trying for months with no success. There is so much stuff you should know about your fertility before you make any decisions based on fear!

As always, I wish you well on your journey. If I can answer any questions, please feel free to leave it in the comments. I hope this article was helpful to you. Good luck and baby dust!

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2 thoughts on “Fertility Testing-Stuff You Should Know

  1. Thanks for the realistic feedback about fertility testing, and reminding me that one factor (age!) is out of our control. I never thought that all those other factors, like cervical mucous, could matter more than whether there were eggs remaining. Lots to think about!

    1. You’re welcome. No one really thinks of these issues until there is a problem with conceiving. Then everything is something to look into. Thanks for reading!

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