Proactive fertility health: Coni and Mike’s story
13th February 2020
For many couples, fertility testing is something they start to consider when having issues conceiving. However, understanding your fertility before you start trying can help you make informed decisions, plan effectively and reduce stress down the line. With our at-home hormone and sperms tests, you can get ahead of the curve and take a proactive approach to your fertility health. That’s what Adia team member Coni and her fiancé Mike decided to do ahead of their wedding next year. Here they share their story and their results.
I have always known I wanted to be a mother. I have an amazing relationship with my mum and dreamed of recreating that with my own family when the time is right and with the right person. I was lucky enough to find that person in Mike. After 6 years of dating, he proposed last year and we are now planning our wedding for July 2021. Mike loves kids and we’ve always spoken openly about wanting to start a family. So as we plan our wedding, amongst the dress fittings and caterer tastings, it’s unsurprising that conversations have turned to when we might start trying for a baby.
We go back and forth as to whether we should start trying straight away after our wedding or to enjoy our first year as a married couple without the pressure of trying to conceive. We are both incredibly focused on our careers at the moment, love to travel and go on spontaneous nights out with friends. If I had a crystal ball and knew we would have no problem getting pregnant in our mid-30s, I think I would be happy to hold off for a few more years. But if we did wait and found out down the line we couldn’t have children, I know we would both be devastated.
Thinking about fertility
Working for Adia has certainly made me think about my fertility in a different, more pertinent way. However, I’ve always been conscious of the unpredictable nature of the road to parenthood. I’ve watched friends navigate fertility challenges, some have suffered loss, others finally becoming parents after multiple IVF attempts. Witnessing their experience really highlighted to me that it’s not always as easy as we hope to get pregnant. I have a male friend who went through IVF with his wife, and he once said to me ’We all think we want to wait for the right time. But my advice is don’t wait, if you know you want kids and you’re with the right person, go for it.” That stuck with me and has been at the back of my mind as I contemplate my own plans for children.
I’m about to turn 30, so my biological clock is starting to tick that little bit louder, but on paper, I should have no problem getting pregnant. However, all of our biological clocks are different. Of course, we all know the statistics – that a woman’s fertility dips after 35 – but I’ve also witnessed women at 27 going through IVF. Sometimes there is more to it than time or age, and all too often we aren’t aware of underlying issues that could make conceiving harder until we get to the point of trying for a baby.
Not serious enough for a doctor, but too important not to think about
This is why I was so grateful for Adia. As someone who is purely curious about their fertility and with no obvious pre-existing conditions, I wouldn’t have known where to start otherwise. I didn’t really feel comfortable booking an appointment with my GP and I didn’t want to spend thousands at a private clinic to find out about my hormones. But taking the at-home test and chatting to the Adia experts felt like a great first step, and a good way to find out more about my body at this exploratory stage.
Before I took the test I had to stop my hormonal contraceptive, and that in itself was an enlightening experience. It had been over a decade since I’d had a natural period, which I spoke about in my previous blog, so I really had no idea what was going on in my own body. Coming off contraception has taught me so much about my own cycle, including the fact I am naturally regular, which was one of my concerns.
Taking a fertility hormone test
I decided to take the Adia test a few weeks ago, hopeful that no issues were flagged but ready to take action if they were. It was so easy and I was surprised at how quickly the results landed in my inbox. Everything looked ok, although my AMH was a little high. This could have been an indication of PCOS – but I had a chat with an Adia expert and because my periods are regular, they said that’s probably unlikely. I also read up on the foods I should start eating as part of a fertility diet plan, which felt fun and interesting, rather than overwhelming, as I have plenty of time to adapt my eating habits.
I was happy and relieved with the results and now feel really in touch with my body, which is nice. Of course, there are so many other issues that could arise – the test is not a guarantee that I’ll be able to get pregnant easily. But knowing that my hormones are where they should be, gives me some peace of mind – and allows me to make an informed decision about when to start trying. It’s so interesting that we spend years planning our weddings, but we rarely put the same amount of time into planning our future family. I’m so happy Mike and I are getting ahead of the curve and I’m excited to start planning – and trying – soon!
Coni and I have always talked about having kids. She would be a great mum and I feel like we hold good shared values that I would love to pass on to our family. I’d honestly never given any thought to my fertility until Coni joined the Adia team. I think we all go through life expecting to be able to have children, and as men, I feel like we’re less likely to consider the possibility that the road to parenthood may be a difficult one.
It takes two
When Coni said she was going to take the Adia hormone test, I was supportive and equally as interested as her to find out the results. However, I realised how important it was for me to play an equal part in understanding our fertility chances. If Coni took the test and I didn’t, the results would almost be irrelevant. When Adia started offering Exseed’s sperm test alongside the hormone panel, it seemed like a great opportunity for us to take this step together, so I ordered one of their at-home sperm tests.
Whilst the whole process was super quick and easy, it was unexpectedly nervewracking – and I was in the comfort of my own home and only testing out of curiosity. It made me realise that if I was sat in a clinic, having been trying for over a year, my stress levels would have been sky high.
Good to know ahead of time
When the results came through, initially my heart sank. My volume and actual sperm count were totally normal – but my motility was quite low. I had lazy sperm, essentially. I was surprised at how much this news affected me emotionally. I went through a whole range of feelings, from panic to denial, to upset and embarrassed – I can only imagine how it must feel if you are actually struggling to conceive.
After getting my results
The Exseed app gives great tailored advice on the lifestyle changes you can make to improve your sperm health. I was relieved to see there were loads of things I could do to boost my motility – from eating more vegetables to having more sex (that one certainly cheered me up a bit!) However, I was still concerned. I hoped that everything was going to be fine, but it played on my mind for the next few days. I decided to book in for a free consultation with one of Exseed’s fertility specialists and I’m so glad I did.
We spoke on the phone and he took a closer look at the video of my sperm sample. He reassured me that my little guys were actually moving and that even with the current level of motility, our chances of getting pregnant would be fairly high. He also explained how sperm motility changes all the time, so it would be a good idea to take a few more tests to get an average result. We spoke in more detail about the lifestyle changes I could make, and how a few good habits could make all the difference. I had initially been dreading the phone call, but I actually felt more empowered and confident after our conversation. I also read some of Adia’s articles about sperm health, which gave me some useful information about supplements I should take ahead of trying for a baby. I now know everything is going to be fine rather than just hoping.
It’s always worth planning ahead
It’s easy to bury our heads in the sand about this sort of thing, but actually having the information is less scary than going into the unknown. We’re not getting married for another 18 months, so I have plenty of time to make some changes, and I don’t feel a huge panic or pressure – which I probably would have done if we were already trying. I’d love to encourage other guys to investigate their fertility. We track so many aspects of our health and fitness – from our body weight to how much we can lift at the gym – so it makes total sense to track our sperm health too.
If you would like to take a proactive approach to your fertility health, join Adia for free today! You can access both hormone and sperm tests, and speak to our experts to get advice on your road to parenthood. From fertility nurses to OBGYNs, nutritionists, and mental health experts there is someone available to answer your questions and offer support whenever you need it.