Are you and your partner havinig troubles conceiving? If so, you may be considering going for infertility testing. But what can you expect dring your appointment and what types of tests might you have to do? Gain a better understanding of the infertility testing process with this article.
History, Examinations and Testing
Before any testing is carried out it is important that your doctor takes a detailed history and performs an examination.
In the discussions which take place, your doctor will want to establish important facts, such as your ages, how long you have been trying, how often you have intercourse, if there is any problem with normal intercourse (eg. psychosexual, impotence or penetration problems), and whether either of you have had any pregnancies in previous relationships. Irregular periods may suggest that ovulation is not taking place every month or if they are particularly painful and intercourse is uncomfortable, this might suggest endometriosis. Previous pelvic (PID) or chalmydia infection may be significant with regards to tubal blockage, as might previous pelvic surgery.
On the male partner\\\'s side, it is important to know if there have been any operations or trauma to the testes or a significant infection, such as mumps as an adult, which can be associated with a low sperm count. For both partners documentation of alcohol and smoking habits is important, as both of these are associated with reduced fertility.
Examination of the woman will include an internal to check that the uterus & ovaries feel normal and to see if there is any particular tenderness or painful areas. Swabs are sometimes taken to rule out infection. Many men are surprised when asked to be examined in an infertility clinic, but it can be helpful. Most clinics, however, do not routinely examine the male partner unless the semen analysis turns out to be abnormal.
All couples will need to undergo the following testing:
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): This test is carried out in the x-ray department of the hospital and is a screening test to check if the tubes are blocked. A speculum is passed (like when having a smear test) and a small amount of dye is injected through the cervix. A series of x-rays are taken which show the outline of the uterus and if the tubes are open, dye will be seen flowing through.
Day 2 LH/FSH: This is a blood test that checks whether there is a good reserve of eggs in the ovary and that the hormonal system leading to their release is intact. It is taken on the second day of the cycle (day 1 is the first day of a period). LH and FSH are hormones that stimulate egg development and release. High levels of LH are also found in polycystic ovary syndrome, which is a common cause of anovulatory infertility.