There are, sadly, a number of complications and conditions which can make it difficult for some couples to conceive.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for some time without success, it’s worth taking fertility assessment tests to find out what the reasons may be.
Understandably, you’ll be upset if you aren’t managing to conceive naturally and you may even be afraid that you won’t be able to have a baby even with professional help. That makes it all the more important that you come and speak with a fertility expert as soon as possible. Ours are among the best in the country; we’re consistently rated as one of the most successful IVF clinics in the UK. What’s more, you’ll find our infertility investigations are handled with delicacy, tact and total understanding.
To find out more information about fertility investigations read about our One-Stop Fertility Assessment here or you can call 01992 78 50 60 to talk in confidence to one of our experts.
One-Stop Fertility Assessment
The Herts & Essex Fertility Centre is responsible for the delivery of over 6,000 babies in its 30 years’ history. Our dedicated and highly experienced team offer bespoke investigations and treatment for the fulfillment of your precious dream to have a baby. We offer a fully comprehensive and quick One-Stop Fertility Assessment service for men and women.
We understand the difficulties that many have trying to conceive and the roller coaster ride many are enduring just to find answers through repeated investigations, often with little success. For this reason, we have brought together our expertise as a team to offer the most valuable and effective assessment of your fertility, avoiding the need for repeated tests and numerous visits.
Our fertility assessment service is geared to help patients with demanding professional and personal commitments, whether single or in a relationship.
Is it for me?
It is estimated that one in six couples in the UK encounters difficulties when trying to conceive, you are therefore definitely not alone when questioning your ability to conceive. We can help you to find peace of mind when trying for a baby and indeed, even if you are considering delaying having a baby because of your career or personal circumstances. You may already be on the road of investigations and quite fed up with repeated tests, lengthy waits and numerous appointments. Our One-Stop Fertility Assessment service will give you a rapid answer to your fertility potential and status.
You may be concerned about your level of fertility for various reasons. We can provide you with quick answers in strictest confidentiality with our Semen Analysis and Mini Consultation service. Results will be available on the same day and our experienced embryologist will be on hand to discuss the results with you.
Fertility assessment may help you to make informed life choices such as whether you have the time to put your fertility on hold while you pursue a career. Fertility varies greatly in different individuals even in the same age group.
The entire One-Stop Fertility Assessment programme consists of a series of tests done in two appointments over a two-week period
Who will I see at my Couple One-Stop Fertility Assessment?
Your first appointment, of approximately 30 minutes will be with a specialist fertility nurse. The necessary blood and urine tests and/or semen analysis will be performed at that appointment.
The tests include:
- Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) – to assess your ovarian reserve/inherent fertility.
- Rubella – to check if you are immune to Rubella, as the disease affects an unborn child.
- Full blood count – to assess your general wellbeing and rule out anaemia.
- Urine test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea – easily curable sexually transmitted diseases
- Semen analysis
A second appointment will be booked for you to meet one of our fertility consultants in two weeks’ time. You will have the following tests by Ultrasound Scan:
- A detailed 3D Saline Infusion Sonogram (SIS) to assess the uterus
- Antral Follicle Count (AFC) to determine your egg reserve
- HyCoSy procedure to check if your fallopian tubes are open or not.
In a majority of cases, it is possible to have a diagnosis of the possible causes of your infertility and we can provide specialist advice and discuss appropriate management without further delay. We will ensure strict confidentiality at all times.
Female One-Stop Fertility Assessment
Female One Stop Fertility Assessment includes the above except the semen analysis.
Female Mini Fertility Profile
Our mini fertility check is a highly popular package which includes the following:
- Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) blood test
- Ultrasound scan with Antral Follicle Count
- Consultation with a fertility consultant
Semen Analysis and Mini Consultation
The crucial investigation is the Semen Analysis which must be organised for the same appointment as when your partner’s blood tests are being carried out. We provide a room on site for this purpose and your sample will be assessed immediately for the sperm count, motility, morphology and antibodies. Results will be discussed alongside the results of your partner’s assessment at the second appointment.
For single men, the sperm analysis and management plan are discussed on the day of the test.
Andrology – male infertility
Andrology is the study of health issues affecting male fertility, focusing primarily on male reproductive health. Infertility affects approximately one in six couples in the UK, of which male infertility is responsible 35%-40% of the time.
If your fertility assessment reveals a male problem, our andrology services can help with specific fertility issues. We offer a wide range of investigations to examine male reproductive function.
We manage erectile dysfunction (impotence), hormonal problems, low sperm count, poor sperm motility, and testicular damage among others.
Semen analysis is an essential means of diagnosing the cause of male infertility. It’s simple, non-invasive and is one of the first investigations we carry out. What’s more, the test results are available immediately so you can discuss your fertility options with one of our team soon after.
A semen analysis, or sperm test, is an essential part of your fertility assessment; whether you’re visiting us as a single man, a couple or if you wish to become a sperm donor.
Semen analysis tests your ejaculate for the volume of semen, consistency, sperm concentration and sperm quantity, sperm motility, the ratio of healthy vs abnormal sperm, vitality levels and several more factors that have some bearing in conception – especially for certain fertility treatments.
It’s a straightforward and simple process and not one you should feel in any way embarrassed by. Because we need to test sperm quality within an hour of ejaculation, we provide you with a quiet, private room in which to provide your sample. If you are unable to produce a sample, we can carry out percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA), where we take your sperm sample directly from the epididymis.
Our semen analysis report will provide information on the number of sperm present, its motility, morphology (i.e. their appearance), volume and appearance of the sample. The presence of inflammatory cells that could indicate an infection as well as the presence of antibodies that could impair fertility will be assessed. With these results, our experts can advise you on how best you can optimise your fertility. This could be as simple as making a few lifestyle or diet changes or we will need to advise on which male fertility treatment is necessary to help you achieve a successful pregnancy.
If the results show that there are any problems likely to lead to reduced fertility, we’ll talk you through our andrology services and give you all the support you need.
Our andrology services include:
- semen analysis
- post vasectomy/vasectomy reversal semen analysis
- retrograde ejaculation diagnosis
- anti-sperm antibody diagnosis
- sperm banking for social or medical reasons
Genetic integrity testing is also available and includes:
- DNA fragmentation testing
- Y chromosome microdeletion screening
- Cystic fibrosis screening
Your investigations and treatment will be managed with sensitivity and the utmost confidentiality whilst providing expert medical care to enable you to achieve your dream of fatherhood.
Hyaluronan binding assay (HBA) analysis
Men with poorer sperm samples often have a greater degree of immature sperm within their sample. Immature sperm will still show normal motility and morphology, however, they have higher levels of damaged DNA, which, if selected for fertilisation, can result in poor embryo quality and pregnancy loss.
HBA is a specialist sperm assessment method that can be used to distinguish between mature sperm with intact DNA and immature sperm with damaged DNA. Hyaluronan is a naturally occurring substance found within the cells which surround the egg. Mature sperm has developed receptor sites which means they can bind to the hyaluronan to initiate fertilisation, whereas immature sperm lacks these receptors and would be unable to bind.
HBA analysis is incorporated within our standard semen analysis to help to identify men with increased proportions of immature sperm with damaged DNA within their sample.
What is PICSI?
PICSI stands for physiological intra-cytoplasmic injection and is a method which can be used to select only mature sperm for use within ICSI based on their ability to bind to hyaluronan. Mature sperm with intact DNA will bind to a hyaluronan coating on a specialised ICSI dish and can be selected and used for ICSI.
Why would an HBA test benefit me?
If less than 65% of the sperm bind to hyaluronan in the initial hyaluronan binding assay performed at semen analysis, this indicates that the proportion of immature sperm within the sample is increased and you may benefit from having sperm selected by the PICSI method.
How do I make an appointment?
Finding out more information or making an appointment for semen assessment is quick, easy and strictly confidential, and you do not need a GP or hospital referral. Simply call us on 01992 78 50 60 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also welcome patient referrals from GPs and other healthcare professionals.
Fertility assessment FAQs
Who will be assessing my fertility? | Can a single man have a Fertility Assessment? | We are struggling to conceive after having a natural conception | What is AMH? | What is AMH? | What is a transvaginal 3D scan? | What is a Saline Infusion Sonogram (SIS)? | Why do I need a Saline Infusion Sonogram? | How is Saline Infusion Sonography performed? | What is HyCoSy?
Q: Who will be assessing my fertility?
A: We have expert clinicians who have a wealth of experience in Fertility Assessment. You will meet a Fertility Consultant, where your results and your treatment options will be discussed in detail. We will provide you with a full Fertility Assessment report.
Q: Can a single man have a Fertility Assessment?
A: Of course. We are happy to talk to any single man concerned about his fertility potential. You can book a Fertility Assessment appointment, at which you will provide a semen sample. Our fertility specialists will conduct a full semen analysis of the sample and will review the results with you in depth on the day of your appointment.
Q: We are struggling to conceive after having a natural conception. Will the One-Stop Fertility Assessment give us answers?
A: Yes, in most cases our fertility tests identify the likeliest causes of infertility. Many couples struggle with what we call Secondary Infertility, which is when couples either cannot conceive or can conceive but cannot carry a baby to term after a perfectly normal first pregnancy and birth. In fact, Secondary Infertility is more common than Primary Infertility.
Reasons for Secondary Infertility tend to be the same as for Primary Infertility. It is likely that since you were last pregnant, you or your partner may have had an infection, your egg quality may have declined or your partner’s sperm quality or quantity may not be what it once was. Other common explanations for Secondary Infertility include: endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, uterine fibroids, polyps or ovulation problems.
Q: What is AMH?
A: AMH is the abbreviation for anti-Mullerian hormone. Since AMH is produced only in small ovarian follicles, the level of this hormone is used to measure the size of the pool of potential growing follicles in women. Put simply, AMH blood levels reflect the size of your remaining egg supply or your ovarian reserve.
As a woman gets older, the number of remaining microscopic follicles decreases, as does the AMH and the number of ovarian antral follicles visible on ultrasound.
Women with many small follicles, such as those with polycystic ovaries, have high AMH hormone values and women that have few remaining follicles and those who are close to menopause have low AMH levels. AMH levels do not vary with the menstrual cycle, so we can measure them at any time of the month.
Q: What is a transvaginal 3D scan?
A: A standard 2D scanning image shows only a single slice taken through the anatomy at a time, whereas a 3D ultrasound takes a number of 2D images at any one time. These images are used to create spectacular three-dimensional, lifelike pictures of the womb. We use a vaginal probe to take transvaginal 3D scans and it is a standard part of routine gynaecological procedures at our Centre.
Q: What is a Saline Infusion Sonogram (SIS)?
A: A Saline Infusion Sonogram (also referred to as Saline Sonography) is a special ultrasound test to check whether uterine cavity (the inside of the uterus) is normal.
Q: Why do I need a Saline Infusion Sonogram?
A: Benign or non-malignant uterine growths, such as endometrial polyps or uterine fibroids, can develop in the uterine cavity and create an environment that is hostile for implantation of an embryo. The sonogram can also identify scar tissue which needs removing. A routine ultrasound scan will identify larger growths, but small ones can only be seen using Saline Infusion Sonography.
Q: How is Saline Infusion Sonography performed?
A: The procedure is simple and usually takes just 10 to 15 minutes. A special catheter (about the size of a single strand of spaghetti) is inserted through your cervical canal. An ultrasound scan is performed as a sterile salt-water solution (saline) is injected through the catheter into the uterine cavity. The fluid distends the cavity allowing a good view of the entire inside of the womb.
Q: What is HyCoSy?
A: Hystero-Contrast-Salpingosonography (HyCoSy) is a non-invasive ultrasound procedure used to check if the fallopian tubes are open or blocked.
A thin catheter (tube) is passed through the cervix into the womb and a tiny balloon is inflated to hold the catheter in place. A transvaginal ultrasound scan is performed and a contrast fluid is injected through the catheter into the uterus. The fluid shows up as bright white and its path can be followed in the uterus and through the fallopian tubes on each side. If the fallopian tubes are patent (not blocked) the fluid will spill easily into the pelvis. After determining the patency of your tubes the catheter is removed.