I’m a woman who loves her data. Steps, spending, heart rate, hours of sleep, how long my period lasts, you name it — anything that I can track, I enthusiastically track.
It’s not necessarily because math and numbers make my heart go pitter patter (my name is English, after all). As someone who sometimes struggles to make decisions, I like having as much information as possible to guide my choices, especially those that relate to important things like finances and health. Instead of being totally in the dark, data shines a little light that helps me find my way through a door that makes sense. For example, when recently deciding how much to negotiate my salary, I used my spending tracker to understand how much money I needed to make in order to maintain my current lifestyle and reach my goals, from rent and student loan payments to pedicures and Spotify Premium.
When I learned about Modern Fertility, I immediately ordered a test. My fiancé and I know we want kids one day, but not for another three to five years. But I also understand that my fertility will rapidly decline in my 30s — I’ve even written about egg freezing before. Hormones, like anti-mullerian hormone (AMH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH), largely influence female fertility. Testing and learning about my hormone levels could help me understand more about my fertility, and if I possibly need to consider egg freezing or adjust our timeline.
If something as critical (yet seemingly fuzzy) as female fertility can be partially demystified through a simple, affordable test — well, sign me up. Gimme dat data!
‘Your Modern Fertility report is in!’
About a week after purchasing the Modern Fertility test online, I received my kit in the mail. There’s an option to test at home through a simple finger prick, but I decided to go to a local laboratory to get my blood drawn. All this was simple — even the quick finger prick at the lab — and Modern Fertility’s emails, website, and customer service prepared me for each step.
While the process was logistically easy, it wasn’t emotionally easy. As I waited for my hormone report to come in via email, I experienced anxiety and fear. Would Modern Fertility tell me that I was...infertile? Would my results reveal that I couldn’t have something that my partner and I want so very badly? Suddenly, my yearning for data and information felt scary. The stakes were higher than tracking my workouts and grocery spending. When I finally received the “Your Modern report is in!” notification in my inbox — about a month after I got my blood drawn — my tummy dropped.
Interpreting my results
When I opened my Modern Fertility results dashboard, I learned that I was “within range” for all hormones based on my age (I just hit the big 3-0, btw). “Within range” means that I’m average for my age. (If you want to read up on ranges and how Modern Fertility develops them, check out this post.)
My report included AMH, FSH, LH, estradiol (E2), and the thyroid hormones TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), and T4 (thyroxine). Modern Fertility walked me through how each hormone influences female fertility and what being within range means in an easy-to-understand way.
Here’s an example to put all of the above into context: Because my AMH is within range at 2.99 ng/mL, I likely have an average ovarian reserve (number of eggs) for my age.
If you want to learn more, you can download one of the Modern Fertility cofounder’s full hormone report on the company’s homepage.
But the biggest takeaway? Modern Fertility can give you important insight into so many health factors beyond fertility and ovarian reserve (including potential flags for health conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disorders). Plus, by testing over time, you can understand how your fertility is changing. All of this is incredibly useful info when thinking about your timeline for kids.
Plus, I learned that the Modern Fertility research team conducted a clinical study that provides evidence that the Modern Fertility at-home test is just as accurate as a traditional blood draw in a lab or clinic. The two different testing methods can be used interchangeably to measure reproductive hormones in women! (It was published in the February 2019 edition of Green Journal, the Official Publication of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.)
The bottom line
After doing my own research and learning more from the Modern Fertility blog, I learned that hormones are just one of many fertility data points (though a very important one). I love that Modern Fertility is upfront and honest about this. Your age, ability to ovulate (your menstrual cycle can reveal a lot about your reproductive health), partner’s fertility, and uterine and fallopian tube function are other factors that influence fertility.
For example, an egg must travel down a fallopian tube in order to reach a sperm and become fertilized. If a fallopian tube is blocked with endometrial tissue, conception may be difficult. Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes can only be diagnosed through a special x-ray in your health care provider's office.
Hormones are like your fertility detectives — the Nancy Drew of fertility, if you will (or Harriet the Spy, for all you former Nickelodeon lovers). They can raise red flags and clue you and your health care provider to dig deeper into what might be going on with your reproductive organs (FYI, a medical history is a super important element of fertility evaluation, as is a physical exam that also includes things like a pap smear).
If your tummy drops at the idea of ordering a Modern Fertility test, I feel you and I’ve been there. Keep in mind that it’s not the “end all, be all” of female fertility. Having this data about my hormones is incredibly empowering. I took my test results to my health care provider so we can stay on the same page and talked with my partner about them. I look forward to ordering the test again next year so I can track of my levels over time and keep tabs on something that impacts my health and future.