Partner Content

Knowledge is power: a new service created by an Irish doctor can help women better understand their fertility

A new at-home hormonal testing kit may provide clarity and confidence for women who want more information about their fertility.

Dr Roisin O’Loughlin is the founder of The FertilityHQ, an Irish service that seeks to empower women with information on fertility

Do you know your AMH from your FSH? Where your oestradiol or prolactin levels are at?

These terms can become a second language to anyone who is attempting to have a baby. They demand comprehension because they are fundamental aspects of a hormonal profile, and strong indicators of a woman’s ability to conceive and carry a baby to term.

Too often, however, the complexity and even the language of fertility proves daunting. Dr Roisin O’Loughlin is a Dublin-based GP and the founder of The FertilityHQ, a new service that aims to demystify the language of fertility, and one that puts simple, at-home hormonal testing at its basis. “My mission is to make the whole fertility conversation a more open and transparent one, and in doing so to empower women,” she tells Irish Tatler.

The service includes a personalised report

Here’s how it works. Click to and try the free ‘Let’s Get Started’ quiz, which takes two minutes to complete. “The quiz gleans some basic information about your cycle,” Dr Roisin explains, “to determine whether or not you are on contraception, if you have had any previous pregnancies, your age, any underlying medical issues, and so on.” Using these responses Dr Roisin and team can then recommend the most appropriate home test for you. “Those on contraception, which naturally affects hormonal results, can take a modified version of our test, which will include a test of your thyroid function - an essential test as a thyroid imbalance can be linked to miscarriage and subfertility - and a test for AMH, otherwise known as your ovarian reserve.” For those not taking contraception, the full battery of bloods can be taken, delivering a more comprehensive hormonal profile. “This will give us a good sense of where you are at; and for many will be the first stepping stone on a fertility journey.”

The test kit is designed for convenience. “Many women struggle to duck out of busy jobs for doctor’s appointments and blood tests,” says Dr Roisin. “This test, received by post, can be taken in your own time.” The test involves a very straightforward fingerpick blood sample, and the kit contains a QR code linking to a how-to video that guides users through the process.

An example of The FertilityHQ at-home hormonal testing kit

Once done, pop the kit back in the post where it is sent to Eurofins Biomnis, the reputable partner lab based in Dublin. “We’ll have results back to you within a ten day timeframe,” Roisin says. Importantly, your test results will be delivered via a personalised report that focusses on explaining what those results mean. “That information may be enough for you to go on,” says Dr Roisin, “or you may wish to opt in for a virtual consult if you’d like to discuss the results in more detail with me.”

The personalised profile report will likely include some basic recommendations, Dr Roisin explains. “If there is an indication of a comparatively low ovarian reserve, for example, and depending on what your wishes are, we could then suggest linking you in with a fertility centre in your vicinity, which could involve further testing such as male investigations, or an ultrasound for you. The idea is that you are armed with knowledge, so that you can take a proactive rather than a reactive approach to planning a family.”

As a GP, Dr Roisin is conscious that The FertilityHQ is not intended to supplant the job of your local doctor. “We don’t want to take over the GP’s role,” she says. “Let’s say the blood test suggested a thyroid function abnormality: in that case we might suggest you contact your GP to follow up on that result.”

In conversation, Dr Roisin’s empathetic style and genuine passion for women’s health comes across in spades.

She is an energetic advocate for women’s health, having completed a masters degree in obstetrics and gynaecology at UCC before training in general practice in Co Kerry. From there, Roisin took a position with Google, working in the Wellness Centre at the tech giant’s Dublin headquarters, where, she says, a fertility-related query cropped up daily. “The truth is that at Google the staff medical benefits are so good, and there was a genuine focus on fertility issues there, so that’s where I first realised there was a gap in wider society for more fertility information and empowerment for women.”

Moreover, when Roisin herself attempted to start a family two years ago, success was not immediate.”I found there wasn’t a whole pile of information online that could be really relied on, or that helped me with the simple information I required, like how do I improve my egg quality, or what basic tests should I do,” she recalls. “Obviously I have certain information as a GP, but I thought about this from the perspective of any woman out there seeking this information. I felt: how do other people even start with this? It must be really daunting. That’s where the idea for The FertilityHQ home test came from.”

Dr Roisin acknowledges that, despite the fact that one in six Irish couples experience infertility, the topic remains out of bounds not only in many workplaces, but even amongst friends. “I went to a Catholic secondary school where our school talks were on chastity; not about holistic reproductive education,” she continues, “and we’re in a completely different world now, so I would love fertility to be a much more open conversation.

“Everyone’s fertility journey is different, “ she concludes. “So many Irish women are going through fertility treatment, and it can be a lonely journey. There’s a lot of guilt, shame, fear and sadness around the topic, but it can be positive, if you look at it in a different way, by starting with the facts and being able to plan for the future. That’s what The FertilityHQ is here for.”

To find out more, see