What to Expect From Initial Infertility Diagnostic Testing
If you and your partner are trying to conceive but have been unsuccessful, it might be a good time to seek infertility testing. Doctors typically recommend testing if you have been unable to achieve pregnancy for over one year. However, you might be wondering what fertility tests are available for women and men. You might also have questions about what the tests are like and who should be tested.
Testing for Both Partners
As infertility can affect both men and women, it is important for both partners to receive testing to determine whether one or both partners are experiencing an issue. After an initial consultation with your doctor, testing begins with in-depth medical histories and physical exams of both partners.
Medical histories generally include questions about:
- Your sex life
- Birth control methods
- Caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and/or illegal drug use
- Exercise patterns
- Medicines and supplements
Women can also expect questions about their menstrual cycles.
As for the physical exam, a woman’s physical exam typically includes a pelvic examination and a pap smear. A man’s physical exam usually includes a testicular examination.
To test for female infertility, doctors generally start with a urine test to check hormone levels and determine whether the patient is ovulating. Female patients also undergo ovarian reserve testing (ORT), which consists of a blood test that is performed on the third day of menstruation. This blood test measures the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol, and antimullerian hormone – all of which play an important role in female fertility. ORT exams may also include:
- Sonograms to determine how many eggs have reached later stages of development as well as the total number of eggs remaining
- A transvaginal pelvic sonogram (TVS), in which the doctor places an ultrasound wand into the vagina to examine the size and structure of the uterus
- Examinations such as sonohysterograms and/or hysterosalpingograms, both of which evaluate the fallopian tubes
To test for male infertility, patients must first provide a semen sample, typically collected via masturbation. A semen analysis is then performed to determine sperm count, assess sperm shape and motility, evaluate volume, and analyze the overall quality of the semen. Some male patients may also undergo blood tests to check for antibodies against sperm or vaginal fluids.
At Chelsea Fertility NYC, our goal is to offer recommendations based on your unique situation, while also allowing you to feel comfortable with your infertility care and deciding what’s best for you. To learn more, contact us today.