Preconception Testing 101
What is pre-pregnancy wellness?
Pre-pregnancy wellness is the state of your health prior to getting pregnant (usually 1 year beforehand) that influences your fertility and the health of your future pregnancy and baby. Pre-pregnancy can also be referred to as the preconception period.
Who should get preconception testing?
Any individual or couple who desires to pursue pregnancy (or undergo assisted reproductive procedures) in the next 12-24 months. But, you can always start earlier! Poplin testing is available for people ages 18 years old and up.
Why should I take a pre-pregnancy test?
- There simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to preconception health. Your pregnancy journey is unique and deserves individualized attention. That’s why at Poplin we give couples personalized health insights to help best prepare for a healthy pregnancy journey and a healthy baby. Plus, you can:
- Understand your overall health status before trying to conceive
- Discover important information you need to improve your health
- Optimize your health prior to conception can lead to improved egg & sperm quality
Are preconception tests the same as fertility tests?
No! Preconception tests are tests that are recommended before you try to become pregnant. Preconception tests are recommended for everyone. Fertility tests are tests that are typically only recommended if you’re having difficulty becoming pregnant. Fertility tests are not recommended for everyone. While abnormalities in some preconception tests (such as TSH and vitamin D) may decrease your chances of becoming pregnant (and therefore affect your fertility), these tests are not typically considered fertility tests. With that said, if an abnormality discovered by one of these tests is corrected, it may improve your chances of becoming pregnant!
What if I’ve already done testing?
- Many people come to us after having done some prior lab testing, but we typically find that it’s not nearly as thorough as the Poplin test panels. This can vary widely by provider or testing company. If you’re interested in understanding how comprehensive your previous testing was, you can feel free to email us with the list of tests you’ve had performed in the last 3 months and we can share how this compares to our panels.
- Even if you have had more comprehensive testing previously, it’s also important to know that your blood test results can change a lot in 2-3 months, depending on things like what you eat, how you live, and your environment. So, it’s usually best to analyze all of your results at a single point in time to get the most accurate understanding of your health. If you have further questions, please feel free to email email@example.com or schedule a 15 minute call with one of our pre-pregnancy educators here.
Can’t I just have my doctor run these tests?
You can certainly try! In our previous clinical work as nutritionists, we frequently tried to get our client’s doctors to run testing so that it would be covered by insurance. Unfortunately, they were only ever able to get a couple of basic tests run. That was part of the impetus for building Poplin! The reality is that the current medical model isn’t set up to cover comprehensive wellness testing. In order for testing to be covered by insurance, you typically need a diagnosis code. Unless you’re having clear symptoms, your doctor isn’t likely to order broad testing. It’s not their fault, it’s just a function of the system they are operating in. So, if you’re looking to know exactly what is going to be tested and exactly what you are going to pay for it, our testing is a great option.
Once they have the testing in hand, many of our clients bring the results to their doctors. They find it leads to a much more productive discussion with their doctors to address anything that has been flagged.
Isn’t it early to start planning for a pregnancy 12 months before I want to become pregnant?
Not at all! Think about how much of your life you may have spent trying to prevent pregnancy. It only makes sense that planning for a pregnancy deserves some time and attention as well! Many of the tests that are included in preconception care can detect abnormalities that can be corrected before pregnancy (that’s the beauty of preconception testing!). In order to be able to correct these abnormalities, you need to give yourself time to do so! By completing your tests early, you give yourself the space and time you need to change your lifestyle, manage an underlying health condition, or find an experienced healthcare provider to help you on your journey.
I don’t have any medical problems; do I need preconception testing?
Yes! Preconception testing is recommended for everyone! While certain tests may be more important for women with a personal or family history of certain medical conditions, the tests offered by Poplin are appropriate for anyone! In fact, a majority of women with abnormal preconception labs have NO symptoms, which is why it’s so important to get screened in advance of a potential pregnancy.
Ordering & Payment
Can I cancel my order?
You may cancel your order and receive a full refund up until you have your blood drawn. Once you’ve had your blood drawn, we are unable to cancel or refund your order. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any cancellation requests.
Why can’t I order a test panel if I live in New York, New Jersey, or Rhode Island?
Unfortunately, certain state laws in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island currently restrict consumer-driven ordering of online tests for residents of these states. We’re hopeful this will change in the near future. Please feel free to email us at email@example.com if you have any further questions. And of course, if you’re interested in working to change restrictive laws like this, we encourage you to contact your state representatives to express your concern.
Do you accept insurance?
We currently do not accept insurance, but you are welcome to submit your test purchase to your insurance company to see if they will reimburse a portion of the purchase. In addition, if you have a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA), you can use those funds towards the purchase of a Poplin panel. See FAQ below for further details on using your FSA or HSA funds.
Can I use the money in my health savings (HSA) or flexible spending accounts (FSA) to pay for a test panel?
Yes, you can! All of Poplin's test panels are registered with the SIGIS Eligible Product List (EPL), a list of eligible health care products that qualify for purchase with an FSA or HSA payment card. Because of this, you can rest assured that if you purchase a Poplin test panel, you will be able to submit for reimbursement with your HSA/FSA administrator and the transaction will be approved. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any additional documentation or have any further questions.
What payment forms do you accept?
- Credit card or HSA/FSA Card
- Shop Pay, including Shop Pay Installments
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
Testing Details & Logistics
When should I test?
- Certain biomarkers are influenced by the time of day, time of your cycle (for females), or whether you have eaten recently. To get the most out of each test we recommend the following:
- Females: Days 2-4 of cycle, first thing in the morning, fast for 12 hours
- Males: Any day, first thing in the morning, fast for 12 hours
What biomarkers are included?
Please see our Biomarker Glossary
What else comes with my test?
- Pre-pregnancy wellness status report
- 30 minute educational call with pre-pregnancy expert
- Ongoing access to digital app
Can I take your preconception tests while on hormonal birth control?
For our Premium panel, hormonal birth control will impact a small subset of the results, in particular some of the hormone values. If you elect to take the test while on hormonal birth control, we recommend that you discuss your results with one of our pre-pregnancy educators to understand which test results are impacted. If you are planning to discontinue hormonal birth control, we advise waiting ~8 weeks until taking the test. Certain medications and supplements may also affect test results; please consult with your healthcare provider if you have questions about how your medication may affect test results.
When should I repeat my preconception tests?
If any of your initial preconception tests were abnormal, you may want to consider repeating those tests after making the recommended changes. This will ensure that these tests are normal before you become pregnant (which is the ultimate goal!). Repeat testing should also occur under the following circumstances:
- After a miscarriage or stillbirth, before attempting to conceive again.
- After a healthy pregnancy, before trying for another pregnancy.
- If you’re not pregnant but it’s been more than 6-12 months since you’ve had preconception testing.
- After any change in your personal or family health history.
We do not limit the number of tests you’re allowed to order; however, your healthcare provider may be able to determine whether repeat testing is recommended for your specific situation.
Do you have any tips for a seamless blood draw experience?
- Make sure you're well hydrated, both the night before and the morning of.
- It can be helpful to keep your arms warm until right before the blood draw helps to speed up the flow. Some customers have even reported that a heat pack on the arm can be helpful.
- For after the blood draw, bringing a bottle of cold water with electrolytes can help perk you up until you’re able to eat food.
Is testing right for me?
Can I take your pre-pregnancy test if I’m already trying to conceive or undergoing in vitro fertilization / intrauterine insemination procedures?
Absolutely! Our testing can be done at any point during your pre-pregnancy journey. Our test panels may help identify concerns that are missed by less comprehensive testing approaches — and we have many clients for whom this has been the case! Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or through assisted reproductive technologies, understanding your blood, immune, hormone, metabolic and nutrient status will help you identify underlying areas of improvement, which when addressed will optimize your chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Are your testing panels only relevant for first time pregnancies?
Absolutely not! In fact, it's just as important to make sure that you are replenished after a previous pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period, all of which can be incredibly taxing on the body. It is important to ensure that your nutrient stores, hormone balance, stress levels and so much more have been normalized prior to another pregnancy. Secondary infertility is on the rise and this information can help you address potential issues early and set you up for success when it comes to getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy baby - the second / third / fourth time and beyond.
I’m planning to use an egg donor, gestational carrier, and/or sperm donor — is preconception testing still recommended?
Yes! There are certain abnormalities detected through preconception testing that can affect the health of your eggs and/or your uterus. If you’re planning to use an egg donor (using someone else’s eggs) but carry the pregnancy yourself (using your uterus), your health affects the health of your pregnancy just as much as a woman who becomes pregnant with her own eggs.
If you’re planning on using your eggs, but a gestational carrier (also known as a surrogate) will be carrying the pregnancy, preconception tests should be performed on the gestational carrier before an embryo transfer and on yourself before an egg retrieval. Abnormalities in certain tests have recently been shown to affect egg quality. Correcting these levels before you have an egg retrieval may improve the number of high-grade embryos that are produced. In fact, many of these tests are REQUIRED by state or federal law before you can have procedures such as IVF (in vitro fertilization).
Can I take your pre-pregnancy wellness test even if I'm not planning to conceive in the next year?
Yes! It's never too early to know what you're working with and find out your pre-pregnancy wellness baseline. We work with individuals across the spectrum of reproductive milestones, including those several years out from conception, those preparing for upcoming egg freezing cycles, those currently trying and those preparing for upcoming IUI or IVF cycles. We measure your whole health, which is relevant at every stage of the fertility journey.
Is my data secure with Poplin?
We take data privacy seriously. We have implemented best practices for security and are continuously improving them to meet the highest industry standards.
We do not host any servers or data ourselves - we collaborate with platforms whose top priority is to keep your data safe. All data is stored using industry standard encryption methods; this means data is encrypted both at rest and in transit. We use the latest technology and the latest security patch levels.
Credit Card Information
We do not store credit card information. You’ll interface directly with your payment processor of choice (Stripe, Shop Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal), all of which are PCI compliant when storing and processing credit card information.
Our Poplin platform is only accessible via HTTPS, which ensures a secure connection.