If you can’t get pregnant and already have tried a few basic fertility tests or the easy part of an infertility workup, you might want to learn about the more complicated tests.
This is part two of Having Trouble Conceiving? Basic Fertility Tests of an Infertility Workup.
“Workups are expensive, and unfortunately, medical insurance coverage can be limited, even for infertility diagnosis,” say the experts in Our Bodies, Ourselves: The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective.
Fertility tests can get expensive, but at least they’ll give you an idea of why you’re not getting pregnant. We had a very complicated genetic test done, which determined the cause of male infertility. If we had that test done at the very beginning of our troubles conceiving a baby, we could have saved a lot of time and money! For more info on pregnancy and fertility, read Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era. And, read on for a description of complicated fertility tests.
Fertility Tests for Females
More invasive fertility tests include an uterotubogram or hysterosalpingogram (hsg), an endometrial biopsy, and a laparoscopy.
Uterotubogram or hysterosalpingogram (HSG). This test looks at your fallopian tubes and determines if there are any blockages. Dye is injected into the vagina, and X-rays are taken. This fertility test wasn’t painful for me, but the doctor said that the dye can cause cramping. He also recommended taking a basic painkiller (such as Tylenol or Aspirin) half an hour before the HSG.
Here’s the good news about an HSG: according to Our Bodies, Ourselves, pregnancy rates are slightly increased in the cycle immediately following this fertility test, perhaps because the dye “cleans out” any mucus plugs in the fallopian tubes.
Endometrial biopsy. This fertility test reveals if you’re ovulating, and if your uterine lining is thick enough for embryo implantation. Don’t take this test if you think you’re pregnant; it could cause miscarriage. This biopsy involves the doctor inserting a small instrument into your uterus after partially dilating your cervix (this causes painful cramping!), scrapes tissue from your uterus, and examines it under a microscope.
A laparoscopy. This is one of the most invasive infertility workups, and the only test that can confirm endometriosis (which can be a reason for not getting pregnant). The doctor makes an incision near your belly button and inflates your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas. Sometimes dye is flushed through your fallopian tubes, to see if they open. This test requires spinal or general anesthesia. If there is scar tissue because of endometriosis, the doctor can remove it right then – and perhaps increase your chances of getting pregnant!
I’ve only had the HSG done, because female infertility isn’t our problem. But, since I’m almost 40 and have never been pregnant, I may have to undergo some of these more complicated tests. Ugh. My next one is the Clomiphene Challenge Test…
For more fertility tips, read Fertility Diet – Natural Foods That Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant.
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