What is the difference between Off-The-Shelf Fertility Test Kits versus IVF Matters Diagnostic Test Kits?
It occurred to me recently that there seems to be an increasing prevalence of ‘take-at-home’ Fertility Test Kits popping up in online shopping stores such as Amazon, and in local pharmacists. I even noticed today in my local chemist, there was a display of boxes of Vitamin D Tests, TSH tests and Sperm Concentration Test Kits, all for under £15.
Whilst these off-the-shelf kits seem reasonably priced and are undoubtedly useful to get a snapshot of hormone levels, or sperm health at a very basic screening level; when they are taken at face value, they are not the diagnostic level tests that we are more familiar with in the fertility sector. Let me explain why;
The main differences in these tests are that these rapid screening kits provide a snapshot of your health in the moment that you take the test. You get a reading on the indicator, based on a standard range of outcomes or a generic value scale; such as Positive, Negative, Sufficient, Insufficient, Deficient, Excess, Normal, Abnormal or invalid. You can then research at your heart's content to find out what you need to do to try to rectify a problem and test again to see whether you have moved up or down on the same scale.
These off-the-shelf tests are suited to anyone who would like to quickly get an ’indication’ of whether they are deficient in Vitamin D, where their TSH levels are on a scale and what the concentration of their sperm count is, for example, but they don’t really tell us much other than yes, no, high or low.
Conversely, diagnostic tests - those used specifically by fertility clinics like IVF Matters, are sent to a professional doctors laboratory in the UK - who formally analyse your sample at a more scientific level, and looking uniquely at the individual diagnostic value of your samples. The results from these laboratories show your unique measure, albeit against a range still, but are more infinitely detailed as such that they provide further indications for fertility professionals to establish the root cause of a problem.
To go one step further - all test kits processed through IVF Matters, including our own Vitamin D and TSH Kits, also include a free evaluation report and short complimentary consult with our fertility specialist to help you understand the results and what these can mean:
- in terms of your overall fertility health,
- how they may impact your fertility journey and pathway objectives and,
- what you can do to improve your reproductive health or indeed,
- whether you are likely to need medical assistance on your fertility journey.
Want a more detailed ‘diagnostic’ evaluation of your Vitamin D, TSH levels or Sperm Concentration? Follow our links below:
Book an Advisory Appointment to discuss which kit is best for you.