Blood tests are the first step in a woman’s fertility work-up. They are an easy way for us to identify potential fertility-related problems. If your doctor suspects problems with ovulation, and especially if Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is suspected, additional hormone testing may be ordered.
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
To help understand your fertility, your doctor will measure your FSH levels by drawing blood on the second or third day of your menstrual cycle. The measure of FSH is essential at the start of a fertility evaluation and prior to any treatment. This level indirectly measures the anticipated amount of follicles (ovarian reserve) and eggs (oocytes) remaining in the ovary, predicting the quantity of the remaining oocytes. High FSH levels indicate diminished quantity of eggs.
Estradiol is a type of estrogen hormone that is produced by follicles in the ovaries. An elevated E2 level on the third day of your cycle can indicate a compromised ovarian reserve despite a normal FSH level. The Estradiol level also helps to distinguish the timing of ovulation and potential quality of your egg for that particular month.
As a major hormone needed to prepare and sustain the uterus for pregnancy, progesterone controls the development of the lining of the uterus and prepares it for embryo implantation. If progesterone production is inadequate, the endometrium may not be able to sustain the implantation of the embryo. Progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum, the ovulated follicle, and later, after an embryo develops and implants, by the placenta. A blood test can be performed to determine the proper functioning of the corpus luteum. Testing is usually performed about seven to nine days after suspected ovulation. It confirms ovulation and the possible timing of ovulation.
This hormone rises with ovulation. It is the hormone that tests positive on ovulation predictor kits purchased at your local drug store, and for Neway’s physicians helps time your ovulatory windows for intercourse timing and procedures.
Prolactin is the hormone produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate the production of breast milk. Elevated prolactin levels, not due to breastfeeding, may interfere with fertility and could indicate pituitary health concerns.
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
TSH levels are usually tested to check for thyroid disease, which is common among women. Either condition (hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism) may cause fertility problems by causing hormonal imbalances and leading to anovulation or other problems in a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Other Blood Tests
Additionally, Neway recommends that all women who are considering childbearing undergo testing for the following as routine preliminary blood work:
• Blood type/screen
• Infectious disease (STD) testing
• Rubella/Varicella immunity
• Genetic Carrier screening
• AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone)