Let's Make It Your Year - Week 3
Standard fertility tests look for underlying reproductive conditions, such as PCOS, endometriosis or low sperm count, which can affect your chances of falling pregnant naturally.
If treatments for these conditions are unsuccessful, or in the case of unexplained infertility, there are more complex investigations that fertility specialists can undertake to identify the cause, and help you to conceive.
- The single most important factor influencing fertility is a woman’s age, as her egg count and egg quality declines as she gets older, particularly after the age of 36.
- A man’s age can also cause infertility with studies indicating that sperm quality declines with age and there is an increased possibility of sperm DNA damage, which could result in complications in pregnancy, and after birth.
- Sadly, miscarriages are a common occurrence, with one in six pregnancies ending before week 20. Miscarriages can result from many reasons, include chromosomal, genetic or uterine abnormalities, the woman and man’s age, and hormonal imbalances . Most patients who experience miscarriage will go on to have a baby, so it is important to stay positive
- Specialists can conduct investigations to test for the possible cause of miscarriages and provide specialised care during the next pregnancy. The most commonly recommended tests for recurrent miscarriage is preimplantation genetic testing (PGT-A).
- Chromosomal variations are caused when an embryo has a missing or extra chromosome.
- These variations can affect up to 70% of early human embryos, with most causing the embryo to stop developing. A fertility specialist may recommend preimplantation genetic testing.
- A thick endometrium is required to provide a site for proper implantation of a fertilised embryo and support its growth.
- If the lining becomes thin, it is difficult for the embryo to implant to the wall which may result in difficulties conceiving.
High sperm DNA fragmentation
- High sperm DNA fragmentation means that there is a higher than usual level of fragmentation of the DNA (genetic material) in the sperm.
- A sperm DNA fragmentation test is sometimes suggested for males.