More Advance Fertility Testing
We already taken a look into the essential tests at the beginning of your fertility investigations, section for male and female evaluations in part 1 and part 2. Now we are exploring more advanced tests in greater detail, highlighting why each test is valuable in understanding and addressing fertility concerns. Though to be honest we think some of these test should be classed as essential.
1. Sperm DNA Fragmentation Test: Assessing Genetic Integrity
A routine semen analysis can tell you about how the sperm look, however, it can’t tell you anything about what the DNA of the sperm is like. ‘Normal’ looking sperm may have broken and fragmented DNA inside that could contribute to poor embryo development and increased risks of miscarriage.
This advanced tests evaluates the integrity of sperm DNA. High DNA fragmentation levels can negatively impact fertilization and embryo development, contributing to infertility or recurrent
2. Semen / Urine Culture: Detecting Infections and Sperm Quality
Semen culture helps identify infections in the reproductive system that can compromise sperm quality and overall fertility. If one partner harbours an infection then it is very likely that the other partner does as well, if they are being intimate.
Infections within the male reproductive tract may increase chances of poor sperm morphology, and potentially increase inflammation that may negatively impact on sperm DNA integrity. They are sometimes seen alongside a varicocele presentation.
1. Comprehensive Thyroid Testing: Uncovering Thyroid Disorders
We mentioned this before in the basic test, but often seen as advance, we think it should be included in basic fertility testing. Thyroid disorders, especially hypothyroidism, may go unnoticed for many years, yet can disrupt menstrual cycles and ovulation.
Comprehensive thyroid testing, including fT3, fT4, and thyroid antibodies, is essential for diagnosing and managing these issues. It is frequently seen that GPs may measure TSH and T4, but they rarely take a full picture, and it is
actually fT3 that is the predominant active thyroid hormone carrying out the work (yet it goes unchecked!).
2. Vaginal Microbiome Analysis: Balancing Vaginal Bacteria
The vaginal microbiome plays a vital role in reproductive health. Imbalances are very frequently seen, and can lead to conditions like bacterial vaginosis, and thrush, potentially impacting fertility and pregnancy outcomes. Often these may go unnoticed as not everyone has symptoms. If you’ve experienced an early miscarriage, or repeated implantation failures despite good quality embryos, this is something to definitely be checking.
3. Nutrient Sufficiency Assessment: Nourishing Fertility
Why: Ensuring sufficient nutrients like folate, iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Nutrient deficiencies can impact fertility and pregnancy outcomes and it is important to ensure someone is replete prior to becoming pregnant. For example, vitamin D plays roles in follicular development, implantation and placental function.
This is not an exhaustive list; dependant on an individual’s situation, there may be other areas that need investigating e.g Insulin resistance , Food sensitivities , MTHFR
It is a very personalised process.
A thorough understanding of fertility investigations, from essential tests to advanced evaluations, empowers individuals and couples to navigate their fertility journey with confidence. Each advance test serves a unique purpose, allowing healthcare professionals to diagnose specific issues and tailor treatments effectively. By addressing the root causes of fertility challenges, you can increase your chances of achieving your dream of starting or expanding your family.
If you would like some guidance of the relevant testing for your individual fertility journey book a
online video consultation with Elaine – Fertility Support trained acupuncturist