The first steps in fertility testing can be scary, overwhelming and tough…
As you may or may not be aware, when couples have been trying to get pregnant for over a year without success, they reach the official definition of infertility, as laid out by the CDC. And while this might sound daunting at first, infertility does not have to be finite. In fact, most fertility cases in the U.S. (85-90%, to be exact!) are treated with conventional medical practices. With this in mind, if you and your partner have had difficulty getting pregnant for some time, it’s important to start addressing the underlying causes of your fertility issues sooner rather than later. And because infertility can affect both men and women equally, both partners should start to get examined and fertility testing after around a year of trying, especially since 25% of couples who have difficulty getting pregnant have more than one factor that contributes to this.
First Steps in Fertility Testing: For Women
If you’re a woman investigating possible causes behind infertility, the initial testings for you is quite simple. In fact, it will actually resemble your annual gynecological exam. You must first make an appointment with a doctor at either a fertility clinic or medical office, and then plan to discuss your medical history and lifestyle thoroughly with him or her. The idea here is to cover the basics, which will also include a physical exam of the thyroid, breasts, and even hair growth. Next comes the familiar part, in which the physician will perform a pelvic exam to assess fertility, and even take a pap smear. Both of these evaluations are meant to determine whether you have cervical issues, such as cancer, that could interfere with conception – as well as testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
Depending on the results of these initial screenings, your doctor may either unearth a potential cause for fertility issues, or may recommend additional testing.
First Steps in Fertility Testing: For Men
If you’re a man trying to discover the cause for fertility issues, the first test for you is a semen analysis. Again, because male factor fertility accounts for nearly 50% of couples’ infertility problems, it’s important to pursue this as your partner is also diagnosed.
A semen analysis is a simple process to go through. Most physicians will want to get a few samples in order to get a fuller picture of sperm health. You will likely want to visit a fertility clinic and produce a specimen on-site, in order to get as clean of a sample as possible. Your doctor will alert you to how you can best prepare for each visit, but best practices typically include avoiding alcohol or caffeine beforehand, eliminating any hormone medications or herbal remedies, and abstaining from ejaculating 24-72 hours prior to the test.
The test itself will measure sperm’s motility, quantity, and shape. Examining these factors can help doctors determine whether the semen is able to effectively – and naturally – fertilize an egg.
If you and your partner need help starting a family, then don’t be afraid to take the first steps. And once you pass those initial tests, let the Stork OTC be your next move.
Contact us today to learn more about how low-cost, in-home methods of helping with fertility issues!