Female hormones and fertility
14th June 2019
We know that hormones and female fertility can be confusing. But 1 in 7 couples face infertility and the vast majority of women in the UK are using hormonal contraception. So, maybe it’s something we should feel more knowledgeable and confident about.
At Adia we believe that knowledge is power. That’s why we believe women should understand their fertility before they get to the point of struggling to conceive. It’s also why we wanted to understand more about your opinions on fertility testing! We conducted an Instagram poll to get your thoughts and it’s clear you agree with us: fertility testing needs revamping.
Our knowledge about female hormones and fertility testing
At our May digital meet up Doctor Linda Farahani, one of our fertility experts, spoke to members all about hormones. The questions that came in were varied and plentiful, we covered everything from PCOS to contraception. However, questions around female hormones and fertility were by far the most prominent.
It’s probably not surprising then that only 38% of the women surveyed said they had a good understanding of hormones involved in fertility. For many women, the first time they hear the acronyms LH and AMH are when they’re at a doctor’s office. Often they are sat there because they are struggling with their fertility. Trying to get your head around biological jargon is hard enough when studying for your GCSEs. Add into the equation the emotional strain of struggling to make a baby and it’s hard to get your head around it all – adding to your loss of control.
It’s clear that women want to learn more about their female hormones and the effect they have on their fertility. 96% of people thought education around hormones needed to be improved. At school, our sex education is focused purely on how not to get pregnant. Female infertility and preconception care are definitely not on the syllabus, leaving many women unprepared when issues arise. Everyone we asked were keen to understand more about the impact hormones have on fertility.
Taking a proactive approach to female hormones and fertility
The lack of education means that women often have a reactive approach to their own fertility. In a modern world where we tend to plan our lives with tactical precision – what degree do I need to get my dream job? How much do I need to earn in 5 years to afford the house I’d love to buy? – it’s interesting that our family planning is something we often seem to leave to chance. Perhaps we don’t want to face the reality that we could be one of the many women to face infertility?
In our poll, 20% said they would be freaked out by learning about their hormone levels before trying to conceive. However, we shouldn’t make like ostriches and bury our heads in the sand. Taking a more proactive approach can help couples make lifestyle changes even before they are trying to conceive. This could range from day to day changes such as stopping smoking or changing their preconception diet or pre-emptive fertility treatments including egg freezing.
93% of the people we surveyed believed it was important to understand our hormone levels before trying for a baby. The same amount said they would like to take a proactive hormone test before trying to conceive. Of those who said they would, almost 100% said they would consider changing their life plans if the test results implied it might be difficult to get pregnant. Getting a Fertility MOT to earlier in the TTC process opens up a world of opportunities for women and couples.
Improving access to fertility testing
Couples struggling to conceive are often told to wait at least a year before seeking medical intervention. Whilst it’s true that many couples will naturally conceive in the first year, delaying access to testing and treatment simply compounds the problem of infertility.
The issue of access to fertility testing was something that really united those we surveyed. 96% of those we polled believed access to fertility testing could be improved and everyone thought that we should be able to access fertility testing earlier in the TTC process.
However, for those that want to get ahead of the curve, their options had previously been limited to private practice testing. This is an expense that some couples simply can’t afford, regardless of how proactive they want to be. However the rise of at home fertility testing kits, like that offered by Adia, is here to change all that. Women can now order a test online, take a small blood sample at home, and send it back to our labs. The results are then analysed and a report of your key reproductive hormone levels is created. The ease of access means that anyone can get a holistic view of their hormone levels before issues arise, putting them back in the driving seat of their fertility journey.
If you would like more information on hormones, fertility or are interested in ordering an at-home fertility test, sign up for free and join the Adia community.