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What Do I Do If My Fertility Test Comes Back Abnormal?

August 31, 2022
Miranda Obryan

Our last blog detailed how to read your at-home fertility results. If you’ve recently taken an at-home fertility test and the results weren’t what you expected, or something was out of whack, you may be wondering what to do with that information. This blog is the last in our four-part series that explores everything you’ve always wondered about testing your fertility at home.

This series includes:

  1. Curious about your fertility?
  2. How can I test my fertility at home?
  3. How do I read my fertility results?
  4. What do I do if my fertility test comes back abnormal?

First things first. Stop. Now, breathe…

A less-than-normal result doesn’t mean you’ll never have kids. Abnormal results are not uncommon with fertility testing, and if you have one, there are things you can do to get your levels back within the normal range.

Steps to Take After an Abnormal Fertility Result

If your fertility results aren’t perfectly within normal range, don’t panic! Realize that at-home fertility testing is just one tool that can help you identify hiccups early on. Although we believe in the accuracy of Orchid test kits, it’s still important to recognize that it’s normal for hormones in our bodies to fluctuate. Hormones in a woman’s body can be particularly unpredictable throughout the phases of the menstrual cycle. And men’s semen samples can vary greatly with each ejaculation, dependent upon many circumstances.

My Virtual Physician has partnered with Orchid to provide synchronistic support to patients who test their fertility at home with Orchid tests. Our online OBGYNs can help interpret your results and guide you through steps to take to improve your fertility. If you have an abnormal result, we recommend a virtual visit with our physicians. We may encourage re-testing during a different point in a woman’s cycle or after a few lifestyle changes are introduced. Certain medications can help correct some infertility problems. Next, let’s cover some common abnormalities that both men and women might find on their at-home fertility test results.

Common Abnormalities Found on Fertility Test Results

There are two main culprits of infertility for couples:

  1. In women: an interruption to ovulation
  2. In men: a sperm cell issue

Evidence that a woman is experiencing a problem with ovulation can be shown in abnormal fertility results. In particular, an abnormal follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level in women can indicate a problem. Higher than average levels of FSH can mean that a woman’s body is having trouble bringing eggs to maturity. On the other hand, low FSH levels might mean that you are not ovulating.

Luteinizing hormone (LH) is another chemical that indicates ovulation in women. Abnormal LH levels can mean that a woman is not ovulating. Many disorders, including PCOS, may cause a woman’s LH levels to be high and affect fertility. Low LH can happen if your BMI is too low.

Abnormal prolactin levels in women are a common cause of fertility troubles. Non-pregnant women should have very low levels since the hormone is primarily used for milk production in nursing mothers. If you have a high prolactin level, it can hinder your fertility if not corrected.

Men who have an abnormal semen analysis should repeat the at-home fertility test before taking action. There are a few common problems that can show up in a semen analysis, including:

  • Low ejaculate volume (less than 1.5 mL)
  • No sperm in ejaculate
  • Low sperm count
  • Abnormal sperm movement (motility)
  • Abnormal sperm shape (morphology)

Solutions to Common Infertility Problems

The results are in, and now you can start working to correct any abnormalities that showed up on your at-home fertility testing. Below we cover some common solutions to abnormal fertility values.

Women with abnormal FSH levels may be advised to change medications or start a new medication in order to bring their levels into the normal range. Medications can also be used to correct abnormal LH levels. Lifestyle changes affecting your weight may also improve LH levels for some women. Your doctor may want to run further tests to rule out other disorders that could affect your LH levels.

High prolactin levels can be reduced with medication. Sometimes further testing is required to confirm the cause of the increased levels. Abnormally low prolactin levels may not need to be treated.

Low sperm count in men is the most common abnormality found during fertility testing. It can be caused by many things, including certain medications, untreated diabetes, or hormonal imbalances, among others. Solutions may include testing for and managing these conditions or switching medications.

Abnormal sperm movement can be caused by alcoholism, toxins, smoking, and some medications. Lifestyle changes are often required to correct this abnormality.

Your doctor may run additional tests for men with two abnormal results, including at-home hormone testing for men, which is available through Orchid. Other tests include advanced semen analysis or genetic testing.

Concluding Thoughts

At-home fertility testing can be an effective way to reassure yourself that your body is in proper working order. But if the results come back abnormal, which is not uncommon, there are steps you can take to get things back to normal. With early, at-home fertility testing, you now have more time to correct abnormal levels before they become a problem. So, when you’re ready to start your family, your body is ready when you are.

 

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