You often hear that a woman feels her “clock is ticking”. But what does that really mean? It is common knowledge that fertility rates in women drop as we get older but would you consider having a fertility MOT to find out your chances of conception are before you were thinking of starting a family or potentially before you have even found your partner? Spire Liverpool Hospital have been offering this service and here are some of their findings:
At Spire Liverpool Hospital an increasing number of young people are discovering the benefit of ‘fertility MOTs’, consultants have said, even if they have no immediate plans to start a family. Patients can come in for fertility advice even if they aren’t yet trying for children, and have a full range of tests so they can decide when they should start thinking about a family.
Mrs Yasmin Sajjad, fertility consultant at Spire Liverpool Hospital said: “The growing popularity of our fertility MOTs reflects a rising trend of young couples and singles seeking peace of mind on their fertility status.”
As people get older some may find it increasingly difficult to conceive and so Spire Liverpool Hospital’s fertility consultancy is valuable in providing early advice as to how long it is practical to wait.
Yasmin said: “At 25 – 27 years old a woman’s fertility is already starting to decline, and upon reaching 35, chances of conception have often halved. Women who take an early assessment of their fertility can make informed decisions about their options later down the line, including the possibility of having eggs frozen for a later date.”
Erica Wilson used the fertility MOT to help make an informed decision on when she and her husband should start trying for children, she said: “I came to Spire a few years ago for a fertility MOT at the age of 31. I was keen to see if there were any issues, and help become better informed so myself and my husband Ken could find out when we should start trying for children. It ended up being a very good decision because we found out early on that there were problems and it has given us time to address this.”
Erica is now going through a treatment called ICSI, Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection. This involves injecting a single sperm into an egg in order to fertilise it, it’s then transferred back to the woman’s womb as an embryo.
Erica said: “So far we have undergone a few treatments of ICSI through the NHS. The treatment went smoothly but unfortunately it hasn’t worked. It’s now been diagnosed by Mrs Sajjad that I have certain cells, which identify the embryo being put back in my womb as a foreign body and I am now on a course of steroid treatment which should prevent this. Ken and I are now really hopeful that we can start a family and having a fertility MOT has given us the time to solve the issues, and have a good chance at trying for a family before time and the odds are against us.”
Yasmin also said that they have seen an increase in the use of the clinic by couples in the middle of trying for a family. “Many couples are leaving it later to try for children, which simply put means they can’t afford to wait around. If they have been trying for a year with no success then they should visit a GP, but often taking this route can mean they end up on waiting lists for tests and to see a fertility expert. This wait can mean the difference between having a child and not, as some couples have left it too close in terms of their fertility or accessing IVF on the NHS, where the cut off for funding is often around the age of 40. This means that the women should be referred for assisted conception treatment at least six months before their 40th birthday.
“Many older couples are now choosing to pay privately to find out if there is an issue straight away, then they can decide what action to take.”
The Fertility MOT includes a range of packages, all of which require only two visits to the hospital within the space of a week. The comprehensive process will provide a full assessment of a patient’s ability to conceive and identify any underlying factors that may prevent natural conception down the line.
Packages are available for men, women, and couples. Men receive an expert semen analysis, while women will be given a pelvic ultrasound scan, urine test and tubal patency test. Both will also have a full blood test to check hormone status.
Upon the second visit the results are discussed and potential options will be laid out. From there consultants can give expert advice on future options, and advise any appropriate treatments.
Yasmin added: “Modern hectic lifestyles mean that more couples are choosing to postpone a family until later in life, so a fertility MOT can be invaluable in checking one’s options before it’s too late.”
We’d love to heear your thoughts on this fertility MOT, a great idea to discover any issue early and ensure you get your family on track in time, or do you think it takes some of the magic out of trying for a family to be som concearned about it before you are ready? Let us know below.