If you and your partner have been having difficulties getting pregnant after trying for a long time, and if you have any other health conditions, you may be advised to go for infertility evaluation. In most cases, your doctor may ask you to seek evaluation if:
- You’ve been having regular, unprotected intercourse for over one year (or six months if the female partner is over 35) and still not pregnant.
- The woman has had irregular or painful periods, a history of abdominal or pelvic surgery or miscarriage.
- The man has a history of low sperm count, poor motility, or abnormal morphology (irregular shape of the sperm cells).
When your doctor suggests you and your partner go for infertility evaluation, here’s what you can expect:
WHAT TO EXPECT
Around 40 percent of infertile couples have more than one cause of infertility, or may have unexplained infertility. A complete evaluation involves several visits by both partners, to one or more infertility experts. Before testing, the fertility doctor will need to know the complete medical history of both you and your partner. The doctor will ask questions related to previous surgeries, chronic illnesses, and hospitalizations, and will inquire about any previous testing or treatment you’ve had for fertility-related disorders.
Apart from these, you and your partner may be asked to provide a detailed account of your reproductive history, which may include information about previous pregnancies, miscarriages, elective abortions, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It is important to be completely honest with your doctor, even if you are uncomfortable with the questions. This will help your doctor get to the root of the problem quickly.
INFERTILITY TESTING FOR MEN
The male evaluation for infertility may involve:
- A thorough physical exam, including an examination of the external genitals and rectal area to identify structural abnormalities.
- Blood tests to rule out certain diseases and STDs, and to determine the level of testosterone and other hormones in the blood.
- Urine tests to rule out problems such as diabetes and kidney infection.
- Semen analysis to check sperm count, motility, and morphology, as well as other factors.
- A small biopsy of the testicles, in case a semen analysis shows that no sperm is present.
The male partner may be asked to go for a Doppler ultrasound or venography (an X-ray of the testicular veins) if the doctor suspects that a man has varicocele.
INFERTILITY TESTING FOR WOMEN
The tests for women may be more complicated and invasive, and may take three to four cycles to complete. Some of the tests include:
- A full physical, including a pelvic exam, screening for STDs (such as chlamydia), blood tests, and urine tests.
- An ovulation evaluation, which involves one to two months of charting, with an ovulation-detection kit.
- A series of blood tests at varying points in the menstrual cycle to evaluate hormones.
- Pelvic ultrasounds to monitor follicle growth and the release of healthy eggs.
- A hysterosalpingogram to show the shape of the uterus and determine whether the tubes are open.
- An endometrial biopsy to investigate hormonal imbalances that can cause irregular cycles, repeated miscarriages, or irregular uterine bleeding.
In certain cases, a doctor will perform a laparoscopy to either confirm or rule out the presence of endometriosis, a disorder in which the endometrial tissue is found outside the uterine cavity. Sometimes, the postcoital test (PCT) is also sometimes done to test the quality of a woman’s cervical mucus and to see how well a man’s sperm interacts with it.
To understand the process of infertility evaluation better, talk to our experts at KIMS Cuddles for guidance and support.
*Information shared here is for general purpose Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.