Many women who struggle conceiving take a “wait and see” approach, turning to lab testing for common fertility problems – such as PCOS or low sperm count. From there, they may be encouraged to begin IVF treatments.
But what if there was a better way – an option where women not only get to complete their fertility testing 100% online but also where the process was more holistic, with potential solutions before moving to IVF?
One woman is offering exactly that.
FemmePharma sat down with entrepreneur Shelley Bailey of Famlee Fertility to hear how she’s “empowering women to take proactive steps to understand their bodies, hormones, and overall health.”
What’s the fertility testing process at Famlee?
The women at Famlee use a multi-pronged approach to fertility testing:
Step 1: Schedule a consult
If women decide to work with Famlee, they’ll first recommend a free consultation with someone on their team to discuss health history and make sure the person is a good fit for the process and that it meets her needs.
Step 2: Download the mobile app
The next step is to complete the clinical intake form for Famlee to share with their telehealth providers. This form is very comprehensive and takes about 30 minutes to complete. It includes medical history, supporting labs or imaging, and consent to share information with participating providers.
Step 3: Receive the testing kit and return it with blood samples
After receiving the testing kit in the mail, the receiver provides a blood sample on day two or three of her menstrual cycle to test for a variety of hormones that affect fertility. After waiting, she’ll test again around cycle day 21 to check for ovulation.
Step 4: Receive test results and schedule a telehealth visit
After they take samples, women send them back to the labs for testing. Once the results are available, the first telehealth visit is scheduled. Women are matched with a doctor who’s licensed in the same state in which she resides. The purpose of this appointment is to review medical history, go over lab results, and then determine a treatment plan.
Step 5: Take prescribed medications and/or supplements
After the initial telehealth appointment, Famlee recommends that women take the prescriptions or supplements for approximately 60 days to give them a chance to work.
Step 6: Schedule the second telehealth visit
Next, the entire process is repeated with a three-appointment model and 60 days between appointments.
Hormone testing for optimal fertility
Famlee takes a functional medicine approach to fertility.
They test the common reproductive hormones of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, as well as foundational health hormones: thyroid, fasting insulin, hemoglobin A1C, and autoimmune inflammatory markers. The test results help provide a baseline of what’s going on in a woman’s body that may be contributing to fertility problems.
This holistic approach is what sets Famlee apart from other fertility testing organizations. The company takes the time to do thorough hormone testing before treatment – something that, in an ideal world, would be done consistently in OBGYN clinics and IVF centers, but often doesn’t happen due to time or resource constraints.
These hormone tests often reveal unidentified or undiagnosed conditions that may be limiting fertility, such as PCOS or high fasting insulin levels.
It’s also important to note that just because women have “normal” lab results or hormone levels, this doesn’t mean these are optimal results for fertility.
“That’s how we’re helping – we’re taking a step backward and asking not just ‘How are your reproductive health hormones, but how are your foundational health hormones? Why are they off-base and what can we do to strengthen that foundation so your body is less stressed; so your hormones are balanced?’” Shelley says.
Using the right lubricant
Shelley also stresses the importance of using the right lubricant when trying to conceive – both for comfort and to ensure that the ingredients won’t inhibit fertility. She recommends MiaVita Personal Lubricant as an option that meets both of these criteria.
For a deeper understanding of the content in this article, check out the podcast episode.
Causes of Female Infertility: Cross- Sectional Study
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic