It can be difficult to know if you’re actually infertile or just timing things wrong. Frustration can build from the confusion of not knowing what the source of your problems is. Consulting with your doctor and explaining your situation can help immensely. A fertility specialist can set you up on the path to success through different tests for your fertility. Here are a few examples of the most common tests for fertility for both men and women.
Tests for Females
Every adult woman should receive a pap smear at least once a year. This assesses your general cervical health. A pap smear helps the doctor identify any changes in your cervical cells. These changes could be an indication of a condition interfering with your reproductive health.
Since ovulation is the release of eggs from the ovaries and an egg is required for conception, a woman must be ovulating in order to be able to reproduce. Blood tests can show a doctor the level of progesterone in your bloodstream which helps support a developing embryo. Any level greater than 10 nmol/L indicates that ovulation has taken place. A blood test must be completed 3-10 days before the expected start of your next period (usually on cd 20-21 with an average cycle), or approximately 7 days past ovulation.
These tests focus on how your hormones are functioning. Since hormones are essential to the reproductive process, low or high levels of certain hormones could signal trouble. These tests will monitor your FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels, estrogen levels, and inhibin B levels. These tests will include blood tests.
A hysterosalpingogram uses a form of x-ray known as a fluoroscopy to analyze the uterus and fallopian tubes. This x-ray can determine whether or not there are adhesions, scar tissue, uterine fibroids, or other blockages that could be preventing conception.
Tests for Males
An ultrasound is a harmless, completely pain-free way to check a male for infertility issues. The ultrasound uses a handheld probe or transducer to emit high energy sound waves which create images of organs inside the body. Normal and abnormal tissue creates different kinds of readings. This is how doctors will determine whether there is a problem with the male’s testicles.
Semen is typically collected from the man via masturbating into a container provided at the doctor’s office. Sometimes more than one samples are required for accurate testing. The sample will then be sent away to the lab for analysis. Average sperm concentration falls between 15 million and 200 million sperm per millimeter of semen. Low sperm count is considered to be anything fewer than 15 million sperm/millimeter. How easy is it to increase your sperm count? We cover that on our blog here.
Our bodies are regulated by hormones and they play a huge role in conception. If a semen analysis is performed and it’s found that sperm levels are low, hormones could be the culprit. Testosterone, FSH, and LH are responsible for regulating a man’s fertility and low levels of any of these hormones could result in an inability to conceive. Sessions of hormone therapy could help restore sperm count back to a healthy reproductive level. Unfortunately, hormone therapy could take up to a year to show results.
Being uncertain what’s causing your infertility struggles or even if you are truly infertile. These are just a few examples of some of the most common tests you may undergo as you begin to unravel the causes of your infertility.
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