If a couple has been having regular and unprotected sex for more than a year without conceiving, then it is time to think of getting tested for infertility (if the woman is more than 35 years, then the time frame is reduced to about six months). Tests for infertility have to be done by both the female and male partners.
Preliminary Stages Before the Tests
It is important that both the partners meet the doctor together during this process. About 40% of cases of infertility are due to multiple reasons including causes that cannot be explained. In the rest of the cases, one of the partners would have a problem. The medical practitioner would need to know:
- Medical history including previous surgeries or long-term conditions like diabetes
- List of medication
- Use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco products, caffeinated products, etc.
- Previous contact with chemical toxins, radiation, etc. at work or home
- History of birth control use
- Frequency of intercourse
- Mental or physical issues with intercourse
- Presence of sexually transmitted diseases
- Previous miscarriages or abortions
- Lifestyle and stress factors
Infertility Tests for Men
Immunologic issues, ejaculatory problems, sperm production issues, and structural anomalies are the leading causes of male infertility. Tests for infertility for the male partner involve:
- General physical examination
- Semen analysis: Semen sample to be provided by masturbation or interruption of intercourse, and ejaculation of semen into provided container. The sample is tested for sperm count, motility, morphological characteristics and infection.
- Genetic testing: This test is to identify the genetic cause of infertility and semen sample for DNA abnormalities
- Hormone testing: It is done to check testosterone levels and other male hormones
- Testicular biopsy: This is done to retrieve sperm for assisted reproductive techniques if needed
- Imaging: ultrasound (scrotal or transrectal), MRI, bone mineral density scan, or vasography as needed
Tests Specific to Women
The following tests are done for women:
- General physical examination to detect cervical cancer and other problems with the cervix
- Genetic testing if needed
- Blood and urine tests at different times to check for various hormones including FSH, LH, progesterone, thyroid hormones, AMH
- Ovulation testing
- Hysterosalpingography test. A Liquid die is injected through the vagina into the uterus and area x-rayed to check fallopian tubes and uterus
- Transvaginal ultrasound
- Hysteroscopy test. Thin, flexible camera-mounted scope is inserted through the cervix into the uterus for analysis and for taking samples
- Laparoscopy where a small cut is made in the belly and tools and/camera inserted to correct possible problems such as endometriosis (under anesthesia)
If you are diagnosed with infertility, the doctor will suggest you the way forward which will help you have a healthy baby.
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