If you’re having trouble conceiving a baby, it might be time to think about fertility tests or an infertility workup. Here’s a brief description of six basic types of fertility tests, given by a doctor or fertility specialist.
“An infertility workup tests all the links in the chain of events from ovulation to an established pregnancy in an orderly way,” say the experts in Our Bodies, Ourselves: The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective. “It can take as long as six to twelve months, because many tests have to be scheduled at specific times in your cycle and can’t be combined.”
For more info on women’s health in general – and female infertility – click on Our Bodies, Ourselves. And, read on for four fertility tests or an infertility workup…
Having Trouble Conceiving? Basic Fertility Tests of an Infertility Workup
A general and medical history of you and your partner. This fertility test includes a review of your menstrual history, the nature of your periods (and if you have irregular periods), info about previous pregnancies, lifestyle and behavioral factors (eg, smoking, stress, prescription medications, etc), and birth control use.
Gynecological examination. This isn’t the most fun part of an infertility workup – but it’s definitely not the worst! The doctor will check your uterus, ovaries, breasts, and pelvic area.
Ovulation monitoring. There are natural signs of ovulation, and the doctor or fertility expert will help you track your ovulation and periods. He or she might recommend using and ovulation predictor kit, or just tracking your temperature or hormone levels in your urine.
Hormonal profile. Fertility tests usually include blood tests, which test your hormone levels (follicle stimulating hormone levels or FSH, thyroid levels, etc). This part of the infertility workup tests the hormones related to your menstrual cycle, ovulation, and fertility.
Ovarian reserve. Can your ovaries grow healthy eggs and be fertilized? That’s what’s tested in an “ovarian reserve fertility test.” My fertility doctor just recommended a Clomiphene Challenge Test for me – it tests FSH levels. Another way to test ovarian reserve is through daily ultrasound scans.
Semen analysis. An important fertility test that should be part of any infertility workup is a sperm or semen test. If sperm motility, shape, or count is abnormal, more tests may be recommended for male infertility. For more info, read Facts About Sperm Count, Quality, and Production.
More invasive fertility tests include an uterotubogram or hysterosalpingogram (HSG), an endometrial biopsy, and a laparoscopy.
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