Should you have a fertility MOT?

In many countries drivers are required to have an annual roadworthy test. This test focuses on the safety of a vehicle, looking at tyres, brakes, lights, seat belts and exhaust emissions. This gives drivers peace of mind that their vehicle is safe.

The principle of annual health roadworthiness tests is increasingly baked into protocols for national health services. This is because prevention and early diagnosis of disease is less costly than treatment once diagnosed. In addition it means the country’s workforce is kept more productive.

At the moment, in the UK there is no annual test offered for fertility ‘by the National Health Service. However, with the above benefits in mind, many women in the UK are now opting for private fertility testing.

What is it?

It is a two-part process offered by some UK fertility clinics, which consists of a blood test followed up with a pelvic ultrasound test. The patient then has a consultation looking at medical history and lifestyle. The results confirm the patient’s fertility status and the ability to conceive now and in the future.

There are two factors driving interest in the tests:

  • Better understanding of maternal age and its impact on fertility
  • Public lack of awareness about maternal age

A 2018 study found that many women are unaware when their fertility dramatically decreases. It also suggested that many women don’t understand their fertile years end about 10 years before the menopause. There is another issue, and that is the quality of eggs declines with age.

Therefore a fertility test can provide a useful indication of where a woman is in terms of her biological clock. This information provides peace of mind and is useful for family planning.

If any issues are detected, it is essential to start treatment as soon as possible.

At the moment the tests in the UK range in price from about £200 for a consultation with no pelvic ultrasound. For the male and female package, the cost is around £450.

Will the UK NHS offer it?

It certainly makes sense. In purely economic terms falling fertility is a national concern and it is important to keep a strong workforce. Also, it costs the country much less in the long term if health problems are spotted earlier rather than later.

In the meantime, the costs are not prohibitive and may be considered good value for peace of mind.