Fertility Screens & Tests

If you have been trying to conceive with no success for a prolonged period of time (1-2 years according to the NHS), then it may be a good idea to consult with your doctor about your next step. There are a number of different tests and screens that can be conducted to test your fertility, and determine what the best next step is towards getting you pregnant. Remember that there is no timeline towards getting pregnant, your body will take its time in getting there, but if you are concerned then taking a fertility test can, if nothing else, give you peace of mind.

What do fertility tests do?

Different tests are designed to measure different things, and fertility tests are no different. There are a number of different screens designed to test fertility and ascertain whether or not there is sub- or infertility issue with either partner.

Because our reproductive tracts are so different, female and male fertility tests are quite separate. That being said there are equivalent techniques, for example, ultrasound is used for some fertility assessments, but while women undergo a general pelvic ultrasound, men will have a testicular ultrasound.

What kind of fertility tests are there?

There are a number of different tests for male and female fertility, each geared towards establishing the health of the reproductive system, which is, as you can imagine, a complex system with many functions and components that are vital to its health. Common avenues of testing are, for example, establishing healthy motility (movement) in male sperm. Motility allows sperm to swim the length of the female reproductive tract and gain access to eggs, the female reproductive cell. Motility is also a common source of male fertility problems.

Where can I get a fertility test?

You can receive fertility tests from both the NHS and private providers in the UK. The NHS has specific criteria you need to reach before you can be considered for fertility testing and treatment. You need to have been trying to conceive for at least a year before the NHS will consider fertility testing, unless you have an underlying medical issue that can impact your ability to conceive. You will need to have been trying to have a baby for two years, and having pursued other options, before you qualify for treatments like IVF (in vitro fertilisation).

The private option is more appealing to people who are looking for a quicker fertility test, particularly before the 1 year mark at which the NHS begins its testing. Many private healthcare companies in the UK provide fertility services.

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