The importance of understanding your fertility health

The revolution in successful and safe contraceptive options that became increasingly available from the swinging 60s led to a half century where slowly but surely the taboo was lifted, and family planning has increasingly become a mainstay of education available to all in schools.

Whereas we are now properly educated from early in life and then often spend so much time and expend so much energy on avoiding an unplanned pregnancy, in contrast there is limited attention paid to the impact of age and the biological clock on chances of pregnancy success in later life.

This is all the more concerning considering the slowly but steadily increasing age at first pregnancy in the UK is now over 30 for mothers (30.7 in 2020) and 33.7 for fathers.

We know women are born with a finite number of eggs (that peaks even before birth at 20 weeks of foetal gestation) and both the quantity and quality of those eggs decreases with age, leading to a significantly longer time to pregnancy as well as an increase in miscarriage rate. Although less clear cut, there is now evidence there is also a decline in the genetic integrity of sperm as men age.

This is why it is so important that people seek appropriate assessments to get as much information as they can about their fertility, even before they’re ready to conceive, to empower them to make informed decisions about family planning. The key tests most importantly assess egg reserve (AMH blood test and follicle count on scan). A scan can also rule out any other anatomical concerns and a simple sperm test assesses sperm numbers, movement and morphology. This information, along with an assessment of your personal history can on occasion flag the need for additional tests such as an assessment of tubal status (HYCOSY) or a more detailed sperm DNA assessment.

The results from these tests could help a couple decide how quickly they should start trying to conceive, depending on how many children they want. Having the test results could help avoid months or years, and the associated emotional turmoil, of trying in vain if there is a significant problem and allow people to seek appropriate guidance on how to improve any problems that could be an obstacle in the future.

An individual with a known risk (previous ovarian or testicular surgery or a family history of note, for example) may benefit from reassurance that all is well and, with the ever-improving success of egg freezing, an assessment of egg reserve may help decide if egg freezing is a good option to maximise later reproductive choices and when it may sensible to explore this option.

Fit for Fertility health screening can therefore offer so much to so many in their respective fertility journeys, often, for most, providing reassurance, whilst providing others with the opportunity for early interventions or emotional support.

Contact us for more information at

Meet our fertility specialist

Mr James Nicopoullos is a Consultant Gynaecologist and sub-specialises in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery.

James is the Clinical Director at the Lister Fertility Clinic in Chelsea and has a wide range of experience with IVF and subfertility but also welcomes those patients that suffer from reoccurring miscarriages, menstrual disorders or those approaching or going through menopause.