Barely a day goes by where there isn’t a story in the press, like The Mail Online, about educated and professional women leaving it too late to have children. Has this lead to the new phenomenon of young people testing their fertility long before they think about starting a family?
At Spire Liverpool Hospital an increasing number of young people are discovering the benefit of ‘fertility MOTs’, consultants have said, even if they have no immediate plans to start a family.
Mrs Yasmin Sajjad, fertility consultant at Spire Liverpool Hospital said: “The growing popularity of our fertility MOTs reflects a rising trend of young couples and singles seeking peace of mind on their fertility status.”
As people get older some may find it increasingly difficult to conceive and so Spire Liverpool Hospital’s fertility consultancy is valuable in providing early advice as to how long it is practical to wait.
Yasmin said: “Women who take an early assessment of their fertility can make informed decisions about their options later down the line, including the possibility of having eggs frozen for a later date.”
Erica Wilson used the fertility MOT to help make an informed decision on when she and her husband should start trying for children, she said: “I came to Spire a few years ago for a fertility MOT at the age of 31. I was keen to see if there were any issues, and help become better informed so myself and my husband Ken could find out when we should start trying for children. It ended up being a very good decision because we found out early on that there were problems and it has given us time to address this.”
Erica is now going through a treatment called ICSI, Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection. This involves injecting a single sperm into an egg in order to fertilise it, it’s then transferred back to the woman’s womb as an embryo.
Erica said: “So far we have undergone a few treatments of ICSI through the NHS. The treatment went smoothly but unfortunately it hasn’t worked. It’s now been diagnosed by Mrs Sajjad that I have certain cells, which identify the embryo being put back in my womb as a foreign body and I am now on a course of steroid treatment which should prevent this. Ken and I are now really hopeful that we can start a family and having a fertility MOT has given us the time to solve the issues, and have a good chance at trying for a family before time and the odds are against us.”
Yasmin also said that they have seen an increase in the use of the clinic by couples in the middle of trying for a family. “Many couples are leaving it later to try for children, which simply put means they can’t afford to wait around. If they have been trying for a year with no success then they should visit a GP, but often taking this route can mean they end up on waiting lists for tests and to see a fertility expert.
“Many older couples are now choosing to pay privately to find out if there is an issue straight away, then they can decide what action to take.”
The Fertility MOT includes a range of packages, all of which require only two visits to the hospital within the space of a week. The comprehensive process will provide a full assessment of a patient’s ability to conceive and identify any underlying factors that may prevent natural conception down the line.
Packages are available for men, women, and couples. Men receive an expert semen analysis, while women will be given a pelvic ultrasound scan, urine test and tubal patency test. Both will also have a full blood test to check hormone status.
Upon the second visit the results are discussed and potential options will be laid out. From there consultants can give expert advice on future options, and advise any appropriate treatments.
Yasmin added: “Modern hectic lifestyles mean that more couples are choosing to postpone a family until later in life, so a fertility MOT can be invaluable in checking one’s options before it’s too late.”
While a fertility MOT won’t fix the dilemma of finding the right partner earlier, it will provide invaluable information which can help individuals make decisions that they can more readily live with.