Hertility Health leads its pitch with some attention-grabbing facts that, sadly, it’s not difficult to believe:
- 60% of women have hormonal issues
- It takes an average of 8 years to diagnose endometriosis
- One of the main symptoms of PCOS is anxiety, which we all have and are taught to dismiss.
- 1 in 7 couples struggle with infertility.
- Up to 80% of one’s egg reserve may be gone by the age of 30.
- 2/3 of us have at least one hormone out of range that could be affecting our fertility.
- £1,051 is the average saving for choosing Hertility over a private fertility clinic.
Their website says, “By bringing reproductive science out of the lab and into the hands of every single woman worldwide, Hertility Health is setting a new standard of scientific rigour and education in female health. This is a movement powered by a new generation of women who back their bodies and their life choices.”
It’s quite the promise. Even before you look at the long list of grievances owed by people who menstruate to mainstream medicine (everyone knows the classic fact about how crash-test dummies were only ever designed to mimic the average male body), it is certainly something we can all relate to.
On top of this, Women’s roles have changed dramatically over the last hundred years (hurray!) and I’m sure that none of us would change that, but it means that we need to start approaching fertility differently, as we have so much more choice now as to when or if we choose to explore it.
As a woman in her mid-thirties, I am Whatsapped on the regular with news of friends getting happily pregnant. However, other regular conversations are of beloved friends going through IVF treatment, some discovering that they have endometriosis or PCOS after years of ‘tricky periods’, and some, after having spent years trying NOT to get pregnant, are now struggling with knowing where to start.
Let’s start with the basics. Hertility Health aims to be a one-stop shop for all things fertility. They take a blood test and access your hormone levels along with your symptoms (if you have any), and they match all that against a plethora of research into female reproductive health, in order to give you the information you need to take control of your fertility journey.
The online health assessment is very easy to fill in. When being questioned by a doctor, I often feel the need to guess what they are trying to ascertain and provide them with the ‘correct’ answer, which can backfire. With this test, however, each step was explained in great detail (sometimes even with helpful diagrams) and there were opportunities for me to elaborate on my responses where necessary.
Two to three business days later, the test arrived…
It may take a bit of trial and error (they do send you backup test equipment) but ultimately, the blood test is pretty easy to take. The amount of blood needed is more than any home test I’ve done in the past, so I’d advise carving out more time than you think you need and maybe popping on Netflix in the background. Also, make sure you read the instructions properly. I missed the
application of a crucial label with mine, but luckily the helpful team at Hertility Health called me the next day and I didn’t need to do it all over again. Phew!
Your results are then listed in an incredibly straightforward personalised section of the website. You’re also able to download the lab results, which you can take to any doctor. Each section on the website then explains exactly what the test shows, what your hormones are for and where yours sit with the average for your age group. The website doesn’t exactly explain it in layman’s terms but it’s not just science jargon either. You can go into depth with it or you can stick to the takeaways.
For me, I had an abnormally high level of one specific hormone, a slightly lower egg reserve than average (yikes) and major anaemia. With that, two of the symptoms, which I’d mentioned – fatigue and insomnia – were explained then and there. I immediately ordered some good quality iron supplements and a fillet steak to tackle that part of the puzzle (cooked liver once a week is also, unfortunately, on the menu). My results, mixed with the information in my questionnaire, also suggested that I may have something similar to PCOS, which impacts 30% of women, often without being diagnosed. However, this required me to have a pelvic ultrasound scan to confirm.
Here is where the money comes in. The test itself costs £149, and if you want to continue privately with Hertility Health, there is an option to do a further ultrasound scan for £219 and then an appointment with a gynaecologist for £219 as well. You can also meet with someone to discuss results for £39, talk to a nutritionist and have fertility counselling.
Not everyone can afford to do that, however, so I wanted to see what would happen if I went back to the NHS with these results. I’d previously asked to see a gynaecologist as I’d been experiencing myriad minor symptoms, but the waiting list for a gyno for something unurgent is over a year long. I took my results to my GP with a list of symptoms, which I’d been tracking. She called me 3 days
later and saw me that day, referring me for her own blood tests and a pelvic scan on the NHS. It turns out that I was suffering from a major case of anaemia that made my immune system weak. This result isn’t something that an automated page on a website can discover all at once, which is why Hertility often recommend follow-on care. Women’s health (and health in general) does not have a one-size-fits-all answer for every ailment. That’s why I think having your initial £39 consultation with Hertility to go over your results (or indeed taking it to your NHS doctor) is so essential.
The big selling point with Hertility Health is that the NHS doesn’t track ovarian reserves during a routine scan, as there’s a policy where you have to have been trying for kids for a year in order to get help with fertility. Instead of waiting for an entire year before even being referred for an ovarian scan, you can pay your £219 and have everything accessed then and there. That’s a world of anxiety gone in an instant. Knowing that I have access to this through Hertility Health whenever I need has saved me from a world of worry and money in one swoop.
A Hertility Hormone and Fertility Test is £149 and you have the option of booking further appointments with a nurse following this. Test on day 3 of period.