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Hormone testing is so important when TTC

One of the most important aspects when trying to conceive is to understand the level of hormones in your body. Hormones are so important when it comes to fertility. They dictate if your eggs will mature and make the journey to the uterus and if the embryo will find a safe place within the womb to embed and grow over the next nine months.
Your hormones also regulate important body functions such as sleep, metabolism, development and overall mood. By testing specific hormones, you can understand quality and quantity of eggs you may have, how your ovulation cycle is working, general hormone health and highlight any issues that may be having an impact on your fertility.


Terms for Women's testing

AMH is secreted by the ovarian follicles, so the higher your level, the more follicles (potential eggs) you’re expected to have.

FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) helps control the menstrual cycle and stimulates the growth of eggs in the ovaries. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. This hormone is essential for producing eggs in women and producing sperm in men. In women, FSH levels peak at ovulation and can increase in menopause.
Why do I need an FSH levels test?

You’ve been unable to get pregnant after 12 months of trying. Your menstrual cycle is irregular or has stopped. The test may be used to find out if you have gone through menopause or are in perimenopause

LH (luteinizing hormone) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. It plays an essential role in male and female fertility. LH helps control the menstrual cycle. It also triggers the release of an egg from the ovary. This is known as ovulation. LH levels quickly rise just before ovulation.

What is it used for? In women, these tests are most often used to help find the cause of infertility and find out when ovulation occurs, this is the time when you are most likely to get pregnant. It can help to find out the reason for irregular or stopped menstrual periods. LH can also confirm the start of menopause, or perimenopause. Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her menstrual periods have stopped and she can’t become pregnant anymore. It usually starts when a woman is around 50 years old. Perimenopause is the transition period before menopause. It can last for several years. 

Oestradiol is the primary female sex hormone, but it is also an essential hormone for men. It is a type of hormone called an oestrogen that supports a healthy reproductive system and healthy breast tissue and bones.

Progesterone prepares the lining of the womb for implantation and sustaining the pregnancy. It is a hormone produced mainly in the ovaries by the corpus luteum (which is what the follicle turns into after it releases the egg). It helps prepare the uterus to thicken in readiness for the implantation of a fertilized egg. If a fertilized egg implants, progesterone then helps the uterine lining (endometrium) to maintain the pregnancy. During pregnancy, the placenta also produces progesterone to support a healthy pregnancy.

In a regular 28 day cycle, the progesterone test is taken on day 21. If a woman’s cycle is longer or shorter than 28 days the test will be taken later or sooner.

Progesterone Test and Fertility: When and Why 

progesterone blood test checks for the amount of progesterone in your blood on the day of the test.

If you’re having trouble conceiving, or undergoing a fertility treatment cycle, your doctor will monitor your progesterone levels to confirm whether ovulation has occurred.  

If you’ve suffered a miscarriage, still birth, or unusual bleeding, your doctor may also check your progesterone, as it’s also known to support a healthy pregnancy Women with low progesterone and a history of miscarriages may be prescribed progesterone supplements  as soon as pregnancy is confirmed. Progesterone supplementation may help reduce the chances of another miscarriage by improving the uterine environment to help sustain a pregnancy. 

  • If your progesterone level is elevated within a certain range during the luteal phase, it likely means you are ovulating.  
  • If your progesterone level is not elevated, it can mean that you’re not ovulating.  
  • If your menstrual cycle is irregular, you may be asked to come in for several blood tests until your period begins. This can pinpoint when ovulation occurs and ensure an accurate test result. 

Contributors to low progesterone levels are: 

  • Obesity 
  • Insulin resistance 
  • High stress levels 
  • Poor diet 
  • Lack of exercise 

Undiagnosed and untreated thyroid issues can be a cause for infertility and recurrent miscarriage. 

What does a thyroid test do? Thyroid hormone levels can be measured by a simple thyroid stimulating hormone (TSHblood test. It is important that TSH is at an optimal level, as it affects ovulation and it is important for women struggling to conceive to check if they have abnormal thyroid hormone levels.

Low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with the release of an egg from your ovary (ovulation), which impairs fertility. In addition, some of the underlying causes of hypothyroidism — such as certain autoimmune or pituitary disorders — may impair fertility.

prolactin test measures the amount of the prolactin hormone in your blood. High prolactin levels inhibit secretion of FSH, which is the hormone that triggers ovulation. So, if your prolactin levels are high, your ovulation may be suppressed.

Testosterone is a hormone important for both men and women that regulates fertility, your sex drive (libido), muscle mass and mood.

Androgens are male sex hormones but are also present in women. Most androgens are bound to proteins which makes them unavailable for our body to use. Measuring FAI estimates the level of androgens in the blood that are ‘free’ (unbound) so are available for your body to use.

Terms for Men's testing

Semen volume is the total quantity of fluid ejaculated. A normal volume is more than 1.5ml. Below that is called Hypospermia and can, for example, be caused by hormonal abnormalities or ductal blockage.

Sperm concentration is a measurement of how many sperm cells there are in each milliliter of semen. A normal concentration is above 15 million sperm cells per milliliter. Being below 15 million sperm cells per milliliter is referred to as oligospermia, and it is called azoospermia if there are no sperm cells at all.

Sperm motility is the forward motion of sperm cells. For a sperm to fertilize the egg, it must travel quickly through the female reproductive system, which requires strong forward swimming motion. The algorithm tracks forward motility, which is also referred to as progressive motility. Normal motility is above 32% of the sperm cells moving, below that is called asthenozoospermia.

Oestradiol is the primary female sex hormone, but it is also an essential hormone for men. It is a type of hormone called an oestrogen that supports a healthy reproductive system and healthy breast tissue and bones.


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