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More Young Women Getting Fertility Checkups

(CBS) -- You may not even be thinking of having a baby yet, but if you're in your 20's maybe you should start thinking about and planning for that bundle of joy now.

CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez tells you why in Healthwatch.

Caitlin Wilkinson and Hannah Johnson love playing pool. The two 20-somethings have another thing in common. At their young ages, they have already had fertility checkups.

"My mom has a history of some infertility issues so I always knew that could be something I could face," said Johnson.

"I have always had very irregular periods and I never knew how that was going to play out in the future," worried Wilkinson.

Hoping to get some questions answered, they went through a Fertility Awareness Checkup. That includes an ultrasound to measure the health of their ovaries and their egg supply.

"When we do an ultrasound, we see that the ovary gets smaller as the woman gets older and the number of little follicles decrease," said Eve Feinberg, M.D., a fertility specialist with the Fertility Centers of Illinois and NorthShore University Health System.

The checkup also analyzes blood for levels of two fertility hormones.

"We look at follicle stimulating hormone and we want that level to be low. And then we look at AMH or Anti-Malarian Hormone and we want that level to be high," said Dr. Feinberg.

The number of these fertility checkups done by the Fertility Centers of Illinois increased by 1,500 percent from 40 in 2012 to 600 last year.

Most women still wait until their mid-30s, when egg quantity naturally declines, to get the testing done, but doctors say that's changing.

"As the word has gotten out about the success and viability of egg freezing, we're starting to see more and more younger women coming in to check their fertility potential," said Dr. Feinberg.

Caitlin Wilkinson's test revealed nothing to worry about for now.

Hannah Johnson's blood test showed a different story: a very low level of AMH.

"When you have a lower level, there's a potential you could go into menopause earlier or have troubles with fertility," Johnson worried.

So she and her husband created embryos and froze them.

"I thought it would be a great sort of security blanket or insurance policy to have them. So I feel really lucky that I learned about this and was able to be proactive about my health," said Johnson.

That's a message, doctors hope more young women hear loud and clear while they still have time to make choices about their fertility.

Both Wilkinson and Johnson say their group of twenty-something friends actually talk about fertility a lot.

By the way , the fertility awareness checkup also includes a semen analysis for men. The total cost for all tests is $90.

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