What is the Difference Between a Pre-pregnancy Check and a Fertility Check and Who is it For?

Feb 2020 Fertility

Contributed by: Dr Fong Yang

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For couples planning for a baby, and thinking to get yourselves checked beforehand, you might have encountered screening tests like pre-pregnancy checks and fertility checks when doing your research. While they may look the same to you, there are unique differences between the 2 tests.

Dr Fong Yang, a fertility specialist from Astra Centre for Women & Fertility explains the differences between the two tests and shares who might benefit from each test.

Pre-pregnancy Checks Vs Fertility Checks

What is a pre-pregnancy check?

A pre-pregnancy check is conducted to determine a woman’s overall health status, and detect any underlying health conditions that could affect an upcoming pregnancy.

As such, during the check, your gynae will typically:

  • Go through your past and current medical history
  • Perform an ultrasound to examine your womb
  • Conduct blood tests, for example tests to determine your immune status against certain diseases like Hepatitis and Chicken pox (this will also help to indicate to your doctor if any vaccinations are required for you before trying for a baby.
    Read more about what happens during a pre-pregnancy check here.

What is a fertility check?

A fertility check is a more specific assessment to understand the reasons for unsuccessful pregnancy attempts. As such, the tests are more targeted to investigating specific causes of infertility, for example:

  • Ultrasounds of the womb to determine the patency of fallopian tubes and the condition of the ovaries
  • Blood tests to determine ovarian reserves and female hormone levels
  • Semen analysis for the men to determine the quality of the sperms
  • Any other underlying conditions that may be impacting the chances of pregnancy

Which Check Should I be Going For?

Your gynae would recommend the most suitable test for you and your husband based on your medical history and needs. However, here’s a brief guide on who’s suitable for the tests.

A pre-pregnancy check is recommended for couples who are planning on trying for a baby or have just started trying for a baby. This gives you time to do the necessary, for example getting your vaccinations done before starting on your baby-making attempts.

On the other hand, a fertility check is typically recommended for couples who are older, or have experienced difficulty conceiving or have existing conditions that could impact fertility.

Ladies above 35 years old and have been trying to get pregnant for more than 6 months should consider a fertility check to better understand what may be preventing them from getting pregnant successfully.

Ladies below 35 years who have been trying for 6 months to a year with no success should also see a gynae regarding their fertility. It is important to note that if you have pre-existing conditions that could impact your chances of pregnancy, you can seek help from a fertility specialist even before the 1-year mark.

Conclusion

Here’s a summarised comparison of the two tests:

Who it is for What it comprises
Pre-pregnancy Check Couples who just started trying for a baby or are thinking of trying for a baby
  • Consultation
  • Womb Ultrasound
  • Blood test
Fertility Check Couples who have been trying for a baby for 6 months to 1 year without success OR couples with underlying conditions that may impact fertility For Women

  • Consultation
  • Ultrasound
  • Blood test (if necessary)

For Men

  • Sperm check

For couples who were confused by the names of the tests, we hope that the above information helped to shed some light on their differences. A last tip for couples who are looking to get these tests — both checks can be performed by a gynaecologist.

Should certain issues be detected, your gynaecologist can also guide you on the next steps to help improve your chances of pregnancy, for example, using the various Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) such as Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) or In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).

 

About Author
This article is written by Dr Fong Yang, an accredited IVF clinician with more than 20 years of experience in the specialisation of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. Dr Fong Yang is the medical director of Astra Centre for Women and Fertility at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre. He often shares about his area of expertise at forums both locally and abroad. He is also an active writer for a myriad of newspapers and magazines to help raise awareness for female and male fertility problems.

 

Dr Fong’s Place of Practice

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