Women should consider having a £100 blood test, possibly followed up with a £200-£300 ultrasound scan and consultation, to find out early if they might have trouble conceiving, a leading fertility expert has said, reports the Telegraph.
Professor Bill Ledger, a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Sheffield University, said women wanting to start a family but who were focusing on their careers first were “sticking their heads in the sand”.
The average age for starting a family is over 30 for married women, and some women wait until their 40s before trying to conceive, research shows.
By 35 years, a woman’s fertility has dropped by half.
“Women do not realise the importance of age when it comes to fertility. They think, ‘It won’t happen to me, I’m 37, I go to the gym twice a week, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I’m fit – everything about me is young’. Well it is, except your ovaries,” said Professor Ledger.
However, while couples need to be more aware of the difficulties they may face by leaving trying for a family too late, Tony Rutherford, chair of the British Fertility Society, has said women shouldn’t base their decisions on a blood test alone.
“None of the tests give an accurate answer. They are not reliable. You can be fertile at that moment, but you can’t tell what you’ll be like two years on,” explained Tony.
“Someone could be falsely reassured that they have time to wait, when they have an underlying problem that will stop them getting pregnant however good their ovarian reserve is,” the medical director of Midland Fertility Services and vice president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ ethics committee Dr Gillian Lockwood has added.
Another aspect to be aware of before doing a fertility test is the emotional fallout of getting a result you may not wish to hear. You need to be prepared for any outcome.