I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I just didn’t know when. Until one day, it finally dawned on me. Am I running out of time? I remember it like it was yesterday. My biological clock was suddenly ticking so loud that I thought my head might explode. Oh, and to make matters even worse I hadn’t even met Scott yet. I was alone and not getting any younger, and I was terrified.
That’s when I met Dr. Shahin Ghadir. At that time, I knew NOTHING about fertility. Honestly, I didn’t even know what questions to ask. Fertility is an extremely emotional subject…and Dr. Ghadir understood that. His call of action? Being proactive and having a plan. I may not have met Prince Charming yet (aka Scott) but that wasn’t the point. I ended up getting pregnant naturally but I froze my eggs too. I liked to think of it as my insurance plan.
Since fertility is something I am very passionate about, it was an honor to join Dr. Ghadir on The Doctors. Since fertility is such an emotional topic, it’s important to know WHEN and WHAT to check. With that said, Dr. Ghadir wrote up a little checklist to make sure you have all bases covered. Oh, and BTW–it’s never too early to check!
YOUR FERTILITY CHECKLIST
#1: Check your AMH
Testing your Anti-Mullerian Hormone level is a way to test your ovarian reserve. Your Ovarian reserve is the pool of eggs present in the ovaries at any given time.
Side note: No test is perfect, and fertility specialists will often use a combination of tests to try to get a more accurate estimate of the overall level of your egg reserve.
#2: Check for any vaginal infections or STD’s regularly
Infections or STD’s can impact your fertility negatively. It has been reported that as many as one-quarter of all infertility cases are caused by a previous STD. Not every sexually transmitted disease will affect your ability to become pregnant or carry a healthy baby to full term.
Some STD’s that will affect your fertility are:
Chlamydia may be the worst of the STD’s when it comes to causing fertility trouble. Chlamydia infections cause inflammation of the fallopian tubes which can leave scarring and block the fallopian tubes. Women who have or have had the disease will need to be honest with their doctors to prevent permanent damage to their reproductive systems. The longer Chlamydia goes untreated, the more severe the damage to the tubes.
A common cause of Fallopian tube inflammation which can lead to scarring or blocked fallopian tubes.
In women, Gonorrhea can cause infection in the entire pelvic region, leading to PID, (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) with irreversible damage.
#3: Check your Uterine Cavity and Fallopian tubes to make sure they are open
Related Tests: HSG and Saline Sonogram
A Hysterosalpingogram, or HSG shows whether the fallopian tubes are open or blocked and whether a blockage is at the junction of the tube and uterus. Radiographic contrast (dye) is injected into the uterine cavity through the vagina and cervix. The uterine cavity fills with dye and if the fallopian tubes are open, dye fills the tubes and spills into the abdominal cavity.
A Saline sonogram is when an ultrasound and sterile fluid is used to show the overall health inside of the uterine cavity.
#4: Check Your Hormone Levels
These hormones all directly or indirectly represent a female’s overall fertility and should all be evaluated by a gynecologist or fertility specialist
Related Tests: FSH, LH , TSH, Estradiol, Prolactin
Follicle–stimulating hormone (FSH)
Measuring a woman’s baseline FSH is to get an indication of her ovarian reserve.
Luteinizing hormone (LH)
Is a test that measures if you have ovulated. It can also help to check for menstrual problems, such as irregular or absent menstrual periods (amenorrhea).
Thyroid–stimulating hormone (TSH)
This test checks your thyroid function. Many women don’t realize that good thyroid function is necessary for optimal fertility. An under (or over) functioning thyroid can prevent you from getting pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. While there are many and varied reasons for infertility, suboptimal thyroid function may be that “missing link” especially for those with no specific reproductive problem. This can also impact the regularity of the menstrual cycle.
Your levels should be checked is to determine your ovaries’ ability to produce eggs and can also help to determine if your follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) test was accurate or not.
Is related to your thyroid and pituitary gland. High prolactin levels can cause reduced FSH levels which then results in ovulation problems. Milky nipple discharge may be a result of elevated prolactin levels.
#5: Check Your Ovaries
Related test: Ultrasound
The female ovaries provide two key functions. They produce a mature egg for fertilization each month (ovulation) and they deliver the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are essential to establishing and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. An ultrasound will check that your ovaries, cervix, and uterus have a normal shape and size and are in the normal place. This will also check to make sure there are no growths, tumors, fluid, or other problems, such as cysts. The overall appearance of the ovaries can be an indicator of the overall fertility level.
NOTE: EVERYONE has their own journey to motherhood. How you get on that path is entirely personal. To find out what is best for you, just make sure you go to a doctor you trust. If it’s not happening, talk and keep talking. There are always options. If it gets hard, keep opening doors. I wish you love and all the best!
Want to learn more about my fertility story? Check out my journey here: