Fertility Assessment

On this page:

  1. Introduction.
  2. Female Fertility Assessment.
  3. Male Fertility Assessment.
  4. Find Out More.

Introduction

Flinders Fertility offers a wide range of investigations for both female and male fertility assessment.

A fertility assessment at Flinders Fertility is a helpful way to get a better understanding of your fertility health, particularly if you:

  1. Have perhaps been exposed to harmful physical and chemical environmental factors and you are concerned about their impact on your fertility.
  2. Have had a medical condition or treatment which may have rendered you unable, or may have reduced your capacity, to conceive or father a child.
  3. Are thinking about trying to conceive.

Whatever your reason a fertility assessment may give you valuable peace of mind and arm you with the necessary information for future family planning.

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Female Fertility Assessment

The first step in investigating your fertility is a consultation with one of our Fertility Specialist’s.  During this appointment, your medical history and lifestyle may be comprehensively investigated.  Birth control use, pregnancy history, frequency and regularity of menstrual cycles, medications used, surgical history, other health issues, your lifestyle, and your work/living environment may be discussed.

A thorough physical examination, including a pelvic examination may be performed and appropriate investigations / tests ordered.

After this initial consultation, your Fertility Specialist may proceed with further investigations.

Investigating Fertility Potential

Common investigations to evaluate fertility potential in women include:

  1. Ovarian reserve – A blood test for Antimullerian Hormone (“AMH”).  AMH is one test of ovarian reserve. There are other tests that are currently used to evaluate the remaining egg supply. None of the tests are perfect, and our Fertility Specialists will often use a combination of tests to try to get a better estimate of the size of the remaining egg supply.  AMH is a hormone produced in ovarian follicles that advance from the primordial follicle stage.  A primary follicle is defined be the presence of one or more cuboidal granulosa cells that are arranged in a single layer surrounding the oocytes.  Primordial follicles are considered the fundamental reproductive units of the ovary because they give rise to all dominant follicles, and therefore to all menstrual cycles.  At these stages follicles are microscopic and cannot be seen bu ultrasound.  AMH production decreases and then stops as follicles grow.  Since AMH is produced only in small ovarian follicles, blood levels of this substance have been used to attempt to measure the size of the pool of growing follicles in women,  Research shows that the size of the pool of growing follicles is heavily influenced by the size of the pool of remaining primordial follicles.  Therefore, AMH blood levels are thought to reflect the size of the remaining egg supply or "ovarian reserve".
  1. Hormone levels – Follicle stimulating hormone (“FSH”) and estradiol test.  FSH is the hormone involved in producing mature eggs in the ovaries.  When a woman goes into menopause she has high FSH hormone levels.  By measuring a woman's FSH, we get an indication as to whether she has normal "ovarian reserve".  Therefore, if the FSH is elevated the ovarian reserve (how many eggs are left) is reduced.
  2. Antral follicle counts - Antral follicles are small follicles that can be seen, measured and counted using a vaginal ultrasound. Antral follicle counts is a tool used for estimating a woman's remaining fertility potential (or ovarian reserve).  The number of antral follicles visible on ultrasound is indicative of the relative number of primordial follicles remaining in the ovary.
  3. Ultrasound scans – To assess the thickness of the lining of the uterus (endometrium), to monitor follicle development and to check the condition of the uterus and ovaries, for example whether you have any fibroids or polyps, and ovarian cysts.  It is essential to determine the presence of fibroids or polyps before any treatment is initiated. The presence of any of these structures could significantly compromise the likelihood of embryo implantation.
  4. Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) – This is an x-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes.  A dye is injected through the cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes.  The dye enables the radiologist to see if there is blockage or some other problem.
  5. Diagnostic Laparoscopy.
  6. Hysteroscopy.
  7. Endometrial biopsy – This is a procedure that involves scraping a small amount of tissue from the endometrium. This procedure is performed to assess the lining of the uterus.

Although In Vitro Fertilisation (“IVF”) is not an investigation but a treatment, an IVF cycle can give useful information about egg and embryo quality.

It is important to appreciate that although it would be helpful to have one test to accurately evaluate the remaining fertility potential in women, this is not possible at this stage.

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Male Fertility Assessment

The first step in testing your fertility with one of our Fertility Specialist’s will be a general physical examination and medical history. This includes examining your genitals and questions about any inherited conditions, health problems, illnesses, injuries or surgeries that could affect fertility.

A semen analysis is a common test for determining if there is a male fertility issue.  Semen is collected and examined in order to evaluate the presence of sperm, evaluate sperm count, shape, appearance, and mobility of the sperm.   Your sperm may also be checked for signs of problems such as infections.

While determining the sperm count, the sperm will also be checked to determine if the concentration is above or below 15 million sperm cells per millilitre of ejaculation fluid.  Over 15 million sperm per millilitre is considered normal, according to the World Health Organization reference values for human semen characteristics.

Your Fertility Specialist may also recommend additional tests. Common test can include:

  1. Hormone testing – Hormones play a key role in sexual development and sperm production.  A blood test to measure the level of testosterone and other hormones.
  2. Testicular biopsy – This is where a small piece of tissue is removed from the tubules in the testes and examined to determine if sperm production is normal.
  3. Genetic tests. A blood test can reveal whether there are changes in the Y chromosome — signs of a genetic abnormality. Genetic testing may also be ordered to diagnose various congenital or inherited syndromes.

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Find Out More

At Flinders Fertility we recognise that a website may not cover all your information requirements.  That's why we offer a number of information options. So, if you want to find out more about fertility assessment either:

  1. Call on 131 IVF (131 483) to talk to one of our Fertility Specialists.
  2. Email us at enquire@flindersfertility.com.au.
  3. Seek a referral to Flinders Fertility from your Doctor.

If you require the aid of an interpreter please let us know, as well as any specific regional dialect that you may require.

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