Total fertility rate declining – Fertility Check-up may prevent involuntary infertility

2.11.2018 Johanna Aaltonen

Total fertility rate declining – Fertility Check-up may prevent involuntary infertility

Fertility Check-up is particularly well suited to those who are dreaming about having children now or in the future and for those who are not yet sure whether they want children.

It is great to be alive in a time with clearly improved wellbeing and opportunities to build the life you want. Women, as well as men, have access to education and can build a career, travel and see the world. There are plenty of opportunities to explore, see, smell and taste things. Lots of people are still dreaming about starting a family, although the number of children born in Finland has been at an all-time low for the last few years. According to the latest statistics, fewer babies will be born this year than in over a hundred years. People dreaming about having a baby someday are often heard saying that they don’t know yet when they want to have a child. When the time is right, they say.

 

Fertility Check-up

In an article published by YLE in March, Research Professor Anna Rotkirch from Väestöliitto, the Family Federation of Finland, said that a lot of people prefer not to think about their fertility at all or they feel anxious thinking about it. This is such a common phenomenon that the term sleepwalking into infertility has been widely adopted around the world. According to a recent survey by the Family Federation, people have insufficient information about the actual effects of age on fertility and many believe that a woman’s ability to get pregnant declines only after they turn 40, when in fact a decline in fertility can already be observed at 35.

A lot of people feel that this type of news only increases their anxiety, and no wonder. The world is screaming at you to pay attention to your biological clock, but the time may not be right for you. Nevertheless, it is important to talk about how limited a woman’s fertile age is both in the media and more widely in society. This will help people who are dreaming about having children, or who are not yet sure whether they want children, to at least be aware of the risk. Involuntary infertility is a huge personal tragedy for many people.
You may be aware of challenges to fertility and you may try to plan having children at a certain stage in your life, but we all know that plans don’t always work out. Life rarely goes according to a pre-determined pattern. You may come across surprises along the way that take you in a new direction and force you to change your plans.

 

Discussing and addressing your situation in life…

Ovumia Fertinova launched its Fertility Check-up in order to help to prevent involuntary infertility. The Fertility Check-up is not a short cut to happiness, nor does it remove the problem of involuntary infertility. But we believe that a great deal of good can come out of it.

The purpose of the Fertility Check-up is always to help our customers in the best way possible, while taking their individual wishes and needs into account. There are several ways the check-up can help, and the first alternative is to come and talk to us about your fertility and anything that may be worrying you. Based on this conversation alone, a gynaecologist specialising in fertility treatments will be able to tell you the factors that may be significant for your fertility. In addition to age, the discussion will usually touch on the customer’s lifestyle and any history of illnesses. It is also a good opportunity to talk about your life situation as a whole, if you choose.

For example, not being in a relationship, or having disagreements with your partner about whether to have children and when or not talking about it at all may raise painful doubts about whether you will ever have children. A discussion with an Ovumia Fertinova doctor may help you to see a way forward and to broach the subject of children with your partner before it’s too late. If a woman is approaching the age of 30 and has not found a suitable partner yet, she can talk to the doctor about the possibility of social freezing; that is, freezing her eggs for later use.

 

…and looking into your fertility by way of a gynaecological examination

The Fertility Check-up also offers the opportunity of carrying out a gynaecological examination, which would replace your annual gynaecological check. This examination involves inspecting the health of your womb with an ultrasound scan and examining your ovarian reserve or, in other words, the number of follicles in your ovaries. If necessary, ovarian reserve can also be measured with the help of Anti-Müllerian hormones (AMH), which the ovaries secrete into the bloodstream. If a young woman has low AMH levels and inactive ovaries, she may come across reproductive challenges. In such a case, further examinations may be necessary. However, low AMH levels on their own are not predictive of a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant. To learn about a woman’s fertility, it is of paramount importance to assess her situation as a whole. Becoming pregnant may also be hindered by other issues, such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

During the Fertility Check-up, it is also possible to carry out a Pap test and sort out your birth control if you don’t want a baby yet. There’s nothing to stop men coming for a check-up either! With men, we can look into any illnesses that may affect their fertility, for example, and we can carry out a semen analysis, if needed. You can come to the practice alone or together with your partner.

Talking to a professional and gaining knowledge about your fertility situation may help you to make important decisions in your life. It may also help you to get clear on your plans for starting a family and reduce your anxiety about the limits of your fertility age. Fertility Check-up is particularly well suited to those who are dreaming about having children now or in the future and for those who are not yet sure whether they want children.

In the end, very small preventive steps can have a huge impact on your future.

What is AMH?

  • The AMH test measures the level of Anti-Müllerian hormones in a woman’s blood. This hormone is secreted by the ovaries, and the AMH content reveals how many small, early-developing follicles remain in the ovaries.
  • How many good quality eggs a woman has, in other words her ovarian reserve, is determined at birth. This reserve gradually runs out with age and after menopause the functional reserve has been used up. However, the speed of the decline varies from person to person.
  • The AMH test gives you an understanding of your ovarian reserve. We recommend carrying out the test as early as possible so that the potentially reduced number of eggs can be discovered in good time. This will allow the woman to take this into account in her plans for a family.
  • AMH is considered the best gauge of ovarian reserve currently available.

The Fertility Check-up in a nutshell

  • The Fertility Check-up is suitable for women and men interested in their fertility. It is particularly beneficial for those who want children now or in the future and those who are not yet sure about their family plans.
  • The Fertility Check-up offers the opportunity to examine your fertility and a chance to discuss anything that is troubling you. The check-up helps to prevent involuntary infertility.
  • You can come for a check-up alone or with your partner.
  • The check-up can replace your annual gynaecological examination. At the same time, we can carry out a Pap test and take care of your contraception.

Article written by

  • Anna-Maija Kakkonen
  • Johanna Aaltonen, Medical Director in Tampere, M.D., Ph.D, Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine (direct link)

 

Sources (mainly in Finnish)

  1. Broer SL, Broekmans FJM, Laven JSE, Fauser BCJM. 2014. Anti-Müllerian hormone: ovarian reserve testing and its potential clinical implications. Human Reproduction Update. Vol. 20, No.5 pp. 688-701.
  2. Endometrioosiyhdistys. Mitä endometrioosi on? http://www.endometrioosiyhdistys.fi/fi/tietoaendometrioosista.
  3. Helsingin Sanomat 25.10.2018. Tänä vuonna näyttää syntyvän vähemmän lapsia kuin yli sataan vuoteen. https://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/art-2000005876107.html.
  4. Tiitinen Aila. 1.10.2018. Myoomat (Kohdun lihaskyhmyt). Duodecim Terveyskirjasto. https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/terveyskirjasto/tk.koti?p_artikkeli=dlk00157.
  5. Tilastokeskus 27.4.2018. Syntyvyys kaikkien aikojen matalin. https://www.stat.fi/til/synt/2017/synt_2017_2018-04-27_tie_001_fi.html
  6. Väestöliitto. Ikä ja hedelmällisyys. http://www.vaestoliitto.fi/parisuhde/perhehaaveet/tutkijalta/ika-ja-hedelmallisyys/.
  7. YLE 26.3.2018. Moni herää lapsitoiveeseen liian myöhään – 35 vuotta on naisen hedelmällisyyden valomerkki. https://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2018/03/26/moni-heraa-lapsitoiveeseen-liian-myohaan-35-vuotta-on-naisen-hedelmallisyyden.

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