If a couple has been trying repeatedly to conceive over a period of 12 months and the wife is under 35, a fertility assessment may be required to gather more information regarding fertility. Over the age of 35, this assessment must begin after 6 months of trying naturally. This procedure is also demanded of women who have previously had a miscarriage or diagnosed with fertility issues such as PCOS.
What Is Fertility Assessment?
A fertility assessment process involves evaluating the wife's hormonal levels, uterine cavity, fallopian tubes and ovaries. For the man it begins with a semen analysis and further tests may be required in certain cases.
Fertility Assessment Process for women
There are a few tests followed to assess the fertility of a woman including:
Ovulation testing and tracking: This is a process done with the help of an ovulation kit, blood test or ultrasound. Ultrasounds are required to track the growth of follicles inside the ovaries that hold the immature eggs. This test can also help determine the ideal time to try for a baby.
Pelvic ultrasound: To assess the viability of the reproductive system including the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and other pelvic regions, a pelvic ultrasound is deemed necessary. Experiencing heavy and irregular menstruation or pelvic pain may demand this test as well. The ultrasound also helps to assess the ovarian reserve by measuring the Antral Follicle Count in both ovaries.
Fallopian tube examination: A fertility assessment with regard to the damage or blockage of fallopian tubes can be completed with the help of a laparoscopic surgery, an x-ray or a tubal patency test.
Ovarian reserve (AMH) blood test: The ovarian reserve is the count of healthy eggs in the ovaries. The number of eggs in the ovary is constant after birth and deteriorates with age. The AMH is a hormone produced by the follicles in the ovaries and examining the level of this hormone helps determine the number of fertile eggs that remain. This test combined with the Antral Follicle Count gives a good assessment of the ovarian reserve.
Male Fertility Assessment Process
Assessing the fertility in men involves a semen analysis where the motility, morphology (shape), count and vitality of the sperms cells are tested for. An anomaly in any of the above-mentioned parameters can lead to a reduction in fertility, or cause infertility, in men.
In some cases, the presence of anti-sperm antibodies can reduce fertility as well, as they attach themselves to the tail of a sperm cell and also slow them down as they move.
Various lifestyle choices such as smoking and exposure to chemicals can affect the health of sperms. A semen analysis is the most important and basic test done to assess male fertility. It assesses all of the required characteristics of sperm cells to determine if they are healthy.
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