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Fertility Tests

Planning Ahead for Your Fertility

I have a friend who has it all except for the one thing she really wants — a family.

Successful, beautiful, charming and sweet, it seems impossible that she hasn't met Mr. Right. Coming up on 34, she's concerned by the ticking of her biological clock.

Since she doesn't have a beau, she decided to test her eggs to see how many "good ones" are left. To see what she plans on doing,


Depending on the outcome of her test, she will do one of two things. If satisfied with her fertility results, she will continue her search for the "one." If her doctor believes her fertility is dwindling, she is ready to have a baby, even if it means being a single parent.

Hormone tests that can evaluate a woman's fertility have been around for years. According to a story in the Chicago Tribune:

A test new to the market called Plan Ahead, measures three hormones closely associated with the number of eggs in women's ovaries: follicle stimulating hormone, which stimulates egg development; anti-mullerian hormone, produced by cells surrounding immature eggs; and inhibin B, a protein produced by egg follicles.

The hormone tests aren't new; the innovation is a mathematical formula that analyzes results from the tests and other factors, such as age and estrogen levels, to derive a score for a woman's ovarian reserve.

Not surprisingly, Plan Ahead has its critics. Some believe it can give women false hope or toss them a safety net that is in fact, not safe as fertility is never guaranteed.

To the naysayers, Dr. Alan Penzias of the Boston IVF fertility clinic said:

The combination of these three tests is more powerful predictively than any individual test on its own, and we think the results are helpful.

Plan Ahead costs $350 and is only available in 13 states. The test is yet to be approved by the FDA.

As I get older, I see more of my girlfriends pressured by their biological clocks. Somehow we went from being carefree to counting eggs.


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