If you’re worried about having kids in the future, this might be a great resource for you.
Whether you haven’t yet met the person of your dreams or are simply curious about the status of your fertility, there’s a brand new test designed to help you find out.
While usually doctors will only run a fertility test after you’ve been trying for an extended period of time – often more than 12 months if you’re under 35 – this test is on-demand and you can take it whenever, even if you haven’t met your partner yet.
The founder of Kin Fertility, Nicole Liu has dealt with this first hand.
Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.
She was incorrectly diagnosed with PCOS. After she found out, she embarked on a mission to improve access to fertility doctors for women across the country.
She says that this information is designed to empower women to make informed decisions.
“We spend our whole lives trying not to get pregnant. When we finally decide that we may actually want to get pregnant, the hard reality is that it’s not always straightforward,” Liu tells Body+Soul.
“In fact, one in six couples struggle to conceive within the first 12 months.”
She says that many women want to get a handle on their fertility before conceiving, because it can help them plan better for the future.
There are many reasons women may want a fertility test – because they’ve already tried and it’s not working, because they’d like to know before they start trying, because they might want children someday but don’t want to leave it too late, or if they haven’t yet met their partner of choice and want to make decisions about their eggs. The list goes on and is individual to each woman and their situation.
“Women’s roles in society have fundamentally changed in the past few decades. We’re having children later and later now. However, our biology hasn’t changed. The reality is that as we age, our fertility declines,” says Liu.
“Fertility is such a black box. But we don’t think about it until something goes wrong. We’re being reactive, not proactive.”
Given the average age for a first-time mum in Australia is 29.3, it’s great to see services such as Kin Fertility, which give women a way to be proactive about it if they want to.
So, how does it work?
Kin Fertility is an Australian-first telehealth fertility test which provides data on egg counts, hormone levels that relate to chances of conceiving.
You simply go onto the website and take a short, simple test to see if you’re a candidate for it. The website will also tell you what hormones they want to check (depending on your contraception).
Once you process the payment ($250 all-inclusive of referral, blood test and consult) you’ll be given a referral for a blood test at a clinic near you.
This Body+Soul writer has personally taken the test and the closest blood centre was actually the one I usually go to – and there was lots in the vicinity. In all likelihood, you won’t need to travel far. You can find your nearest one here.
Once the bloods have been taken and processed, you’ll be booked in for a 30 minute telehealth consult with a specialist, who will go through your results with you and explain in plain English what that means for you. The best part? You can do it from the comfort of your home.
Women will receive their hormone levels (up to 8 hormones) compared to the averages, detailed info on their egg reserves (compared to average for their age), doctor-reviewed results in an easy-to-interpret interface.
What does it measure and what do those hormones mean?
The Fertility Hormone Test measures up to 8 hormones (depending on your contraception):
- Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH)
- Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
- Estradiol (E2)
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
- Prolactin (PROL)
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
- Free Thyroxine (FT4)
- Free Testosterone (Free T)
These hormones, along with information from your health questionnaire gives us insights about:
- Your ovarian reserve (a.k.a your egg count): Understand whether you have more or less eggs than average for your age
- Your reproductive timeline: Understand whether you might hit menopause earlier or later than average
- Potential implications for egg freezing and IVF: Understand whether you might be able to collect more or less than the average eggs in a single egg freezing or IVF cycle
- Regularity of ovulation cycles: Understand whether there is anything impacting your ovulation cycles
- Signs of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a reproductive condition impacting 1 in 10 women. Understand whether you might have any signs suggesting PCOS, in which case you can take proactive tests to receive a diagnosis and manage it
- Your thyroid health: Whether your thyroid hormones are out of balance and could impact your fertility or pregnancy
How accurate is the test?
Kin’s Fertility Hormone Test is the exact same accredited test you get at the Fertility Specialist when you’re diagnosed with infertility.
For the most accurate and reflective results, we recommend testing if you are in the age range of 25 to 45.
What if the results show low fertility?
Firstly, we need to be clear that the test won’t tell you your exact chances of falling pregnant or whether you’re infertile – there’s no 100% accurate test that can.
However it will help you better understand your fertility proactively and help you make decisions about the future based on this insight.
For most people, the Fertility Hormone Test will provide peace of mind. For some people, the results may show:
- Lower ovarian reserve: This may mean that they have less eggs than average for their age, and that they may hit menopause earlier than an average age. For some, it would be worth considering bringing forward family plans or egg freezing.
- Signs of PCOS: PCOS makes it more difficult to conceive, but it is still possible. By taking proactive steps to manage the condition, you are able to set yourself up better for when you’re ready to try.
- Imbalanced thyroid hormones: Imbalanced thyroid hormones can have an impact on your ovulation, making it more difficult when you’re trying to conceive. By working with a doctor to proactively balance your thyroid hormones, you’ll give yourself a better chance when you’re ready to start trying.
If the results aren’t what you had in mind, the clinician will be able to talk you through your options for further care or investigation to help you find the best next steps for you.
As mentioned, I’ve just had my blood work taken and am awaiting the results of my test and the consult. Stay tuned for all the info on how it goes.