Proactive Fertility Planning

This is the column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks. Write Us with Your Question!

Q: I am 30 and starting a doctoral program soon, which I know is at least a five-year commitment. I am not yet married and know that I would like to complete my degree and be married prior to starting my family. Having never been pregnant before, what evaluations and tests can be performed to test my fertility?

Natalie Burger, M.D.

Natalie Burger, M.D.

Response from Natalie Burger, M.D., Texas Fertility Center:

A:  It is common for women these days to put off family plans until they become more settled in their career and life.  However, it’s important to not ignore the fact that, as we get older, we have fewer good eggs left.

Checking an AMH (antimullerian hormone) level is a easy way to give you information on your relative egg quantity – i.e. do you have a lot or only a few eggs left.  If the test shows a low result, it’s important to talk with a fertility specialist promptly to understand your options.  This blood test can be done on any day of your menstrual cycle and even if you’re on the birth control pill.

To safeguard your fertility, it’s important to also continue regular exams with your gyn provider, who can monitor you for any new gynecologic issues.  Also, avoid smoking as this can prematurely diminish your egg count.  Practice safe sex so that you don’t expose yourself unnecessarily to infections that can cause scar tissue.

Overall, it’s important to be proactive when thinking about fertility – this will help you to optimize your chances when you are ready to start a family.

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