In 2017, for the first time ever, more women had children in their 30s than in their 20s. While the choice to start a family should be just that—a choice—the issue for many women, especially millennials, is that they often feel forced to choose between a career, love and their own biology. So when the time finally comes to start trying, any infertility concerns are all the more alarming, and because getting real data about your fertility usually happens when you are trying to conceive, the problems are often addressed too late.
OK, now for some good news: Thanks to advances in technology, new companies like Modern Fertility (an at-home fertility hormone test designed for women ages 21 to 40) can help women track their ovarian reserve and learn more about their options, both now and later. To begin the process, you order the test online (which is reviewed by a certified physician and customized based on your birth control and other health factors). It’s then delivered straight to your door and you can take the test at home with a simple finger prick. Your results are then processed, reviewed by doctors and delivered via a private dashboard about ten days later.
While your hormones are not a crystal ball and there is no absolute predictor of fertility (we can’t emphasize that enough), learning about how your hormones relate to your fertility can help you understand your reproductive options and get ahead of decisions. Here are five of the top reasons to try Modern Fertility’s at-home test, even if starting a family is just a blip on your radar.
1. It can tell you if you have more or fewer eggs than average for your age
We’re born with all the eggs we’ll ever have, and they tick down by the time we hit menopause. As we get older, those eggs naturally become more abnormal. AMH, FSH and E2 are hormones that are involved in measuring egg quantity—or ovarian reserve. When you get your results, you’ll be able see how much of each hormone you have and thus get an idea of your overall egg count. If you know you have fewer eggs than average for your age, then you can take steps to adjust—for example, by adjusting your timeline or lifestyle, or saving for a fertility treatment like egg freezing.
2. It can help check general body factors, like thyroid, that can affect fertility
Measuring hormones can reveal more than just your egg count. TSH and T4, for example, measure thyroid health—key for developing and sustaining pregnancy. Eight percent of women have an over- or underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) often means weight is difficult to lose and keep off. Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) may result in unexplained weight loss. T, or testosterone (yes, women have it too), also plays an important role. Modern Fertility will walk you through all of this in your reports, help you determine if there is an imbalance and explain how to start the conversation with your doctor.
3. It can tell if you may hit menopause earlier or later than average
Unfortunately, living a healthy lifestyle isn’t a surefire way to guarantee fertility. Some elements are tied to your genetics—for example, menopause. Menopause occurs when your ovaries run out of eggs, and for most women that’s typically around age 51. However, it can happen anytime between age 40 and 60. To get a better idea as to when it may happen for you, Modern Fertility measures the hormone AMH, which determines your ovarian reserve and can give you an idea if you will go through menopause earlier, later or around the average age. If you know you might hit menopause on the early side, this knowledge allows you to plan ahead.
4. It can help you understand egg freezing or IVF outcomes
Doctors use ovarian reserve hormone testing (specifically, AMH, FSH and E2) to determine success rates for egg freezing and IVF. If you have a higher ovarian reserve than average and you won’t be ready to have kids for a while, you can chat with your doctor about your ideal timing. If it makes sense personally and financially, you could also consider egg freezing, but simply garnering the information is the best first step.
5. It can help start an important conversation with your partner (or yourself)
Many women report that the Modern Fertility test allowed them to take a realistic approach to their life plan, instead of just a wait-and-see mentality. Whether they want kids in five days or five years, the test helped them zero in on their timeline, and the data they received prompted informed conversations about their life plan—whether that means a career move, financial opportunity or relationship change. Information is power.