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 in Singapore 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.
Here’s a summarised comparison of the two tests:
Who it is for
What it comprises
Couples who just started trying for a baby or are thinking of trying for a baby
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 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).