After ticking off my overall good health, we look at other fertility factors. I’ve never smoked, which is good, as this can send you into menopause 18 months earlier than normal. My parents never smoked; also good, as if your dad smoked, it can bring your menopause on two years earlier. My mum went into menopause in her mid-50s, another positive sign as roughly 70 per cent of your menopausal age is determined by your mother’s.
A scanning wand is inserted into the vagina to look at the uterus and ovaries, to make sure everything looks structurally sound. Birdsall assures me: “It doesn’t hurt, it’s just undignified.” Agreed! I’m told I have a ‘beautiful uterus’ and two ‘nice-looking ovaries’. I’ve had ovarian cysts in the past but haven’t had surgery on them, which is another tick as that can damage the tissue.
The anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) test, Birdsall says, is the best guide to what your egg supply is like and when you’re predicted to go into menopause. You find out from a blood test and if you don’t want to see a fertility specialist, your GP can do the AMH test. However, a specialist is the best person to interpret these results. My fertility is slightly below average for my age bracket; the average reading would be menopause at 51, last baby ideally at 41. Mine is menopause at 48 to 49, so last baby by 39. This seems doable!
I’d been paranoid my results would say I’d have to have my final kid by 35, so I feel happier knowing I have a few more years to play with. Birdsall does say I should be on the ‘active hunt’ for Mr Right (as if my mother hasn’t been telling me the same thing for the past decade). I’ve told all my friends who are in the same position as me to get the AMH test because it gives you a timeline to work with, as opposed to shifting between panic/blind optimism for the next few years.
So you know your timeline, you know your uterus… now what?