If as a couple you have been trying to conceive for a year, it may be time to conduct a fertility test. Fertility tests should be conducted on both men and women, as in 50% cases male fertility is responsible for a delay in conceiving. There could be many reasons and factors behind delay in conception, lifestyle factors, such as alcohol, drugs and smoking affect male fertility to a greater extent than women. While pregnancy happens only in a woman’s body, conception takes two to initiate it, therefore both partners should be evaluated for fertility tests. One third cases now a days are due to male factor infertility. Sometimes, there is unexplained infertility too.
What type of fertility tests are available for women
Your gynecologist can perform a basic fertility test, it is not necessary to go for invasive fertility tests if not recommended by your doctor. Sexually transmitted disease testing is done as there are STDs that can cause infertility. Blood can be taken to test for conditions, such as thrombophilia, hormone levels are checked that are majorly responsible for fertility, including thyroid hormones, LH, FSH, androgens, prolactin, and progesterone. Some of the hormones are checked at different stages in your cycle, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) that helps release the egg is checked on day 3 of your cycle. Progesterone that prepares the body for pregnancy when an egg is released is checked on day 21 of your cycle.
Other than hormone testing, ultrasounds can be conducted to look for any cysts on the ovaries and shape of the uterus, ultra sound can be used to see if ovulation is actually taking place. Polycystic ovaries is a very common condition in which the ovaries may or may not have cysts on them, this is due to excessive production of androgens in female body. This condition can be attributed to excessive weight or genes and usually runs in the family. It is known that 5% to 10% women of reproductive age are affected by this disease. Therefore, it is very important to do testing for PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
Type of fertility tests for men
Semen analysis is done to conduct tests for male infertility, the test can be performed twice a day, mobility of the sperm are checked, and a general physical exam can also be done by an urologist. Hormone levels such as testosterone and FSH can be checked, sexually transmitted disease testing is also done. Biopsy of the testicular tissue can be done, obstructions of the male reproductive organ is checked via Vasography.
Some of the tests can be done on both men and women, genetic testing can be done through a simple blood test to see of genetic disorders in both partners. Fertility tests can also be done at home if you’re not comfortable or are too embarrassed to be tested like that.
A few of the tests you can do at home are sperm count kits and at-home FSH tests. These tests are the most unreliable ones though, if you want accuracy you should always go to a professional lab. You might get a normal FSH level in your at-home kit but there could be other problems such as a blocked fallopian tube. Sperm count kits can count the number of sperm in a semen but can’t tell the mobility of these sperm, which is crucial.
A slight difference in the levels of hormones can cause problems in your fertility, and at-home kits can’t really detect that, therefore, if you’re really serious about conceiving, go to a professional lab for testing. The sooner you see your doctor the better are your chances of getting pregnant soon. Your insurance companies might not cover tests conducted for fertility; your insurance company might cover a few things but not all.
Once you have been tested discuss with your doctor and reproductive endocrinologist what these results mean and what you need to do next. What treatments do they recommend and how soon you need to go through them. When it comes to your reproductive health, delaying is never going to solve any problems, these are sensitive issues but your doctor would be willing to understand as they go through that every day, so ask them as many questions you want and raise your concerns.