Fertility Testing

by Anai Rhoads

After reviewing your medical histories, your doctor will want to do a complete workup of you and your partner.

Below are the most common procedures applied during your visits.

Test Description
Endometrial Biopsy This is an out-patient procedure that can assess the texture of the woman's uterine lining and also determine whether she is ovulating.
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) This X-ray procedure allows a doctor to see whether the woman's Fallopian tubes are open. The doctor injects a dye through the cervix and into the uterus and Fallopian tubes and traces its movement by X-ray.
Laparoscopy This outpatient surgery performed under general anesthesia provides a view of the woman's pelvic organs. Your doctor will be looking for signs of endometriosis or scarring.
Pelvic Ultrasound Your doctor will use this painless procedure to determine whether the woman is ovulating, and also to see if there are any problems in the pelvis and ovaries such as ovarian cysts, fibroids, and also check the uterine lining.
Blood Tests You will have several to check hormone production and to measure levels of thyroid, prolactin, and androgen.
Semen Analysis The man provides a semen sample, usually by masturbating and ejaculating into a specimen jar. Lab technicians examine his sperm under a microscope for count, shape, appearance, and movement.
Post-Coital Test This procedure evaluates the interaction between cervical mucous and sperm. You and your partner will be asked to have intercourse on a certain day of your menstrual cycle. Within twenty-four hours, your doctor will take a mucous sample for testing. He/she look for any antibodies in the mucous that might be impeding the sperm's progress, and also at how vigorously they move.
Charting Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Tracking basal body temperature daily is one way for a woman to tell whether she's ovulating. Using a special thermometer, she takes her temperature upon waking for at least a month and records it on a BBT chart. When her body releases progesterone following ovulation her temperature rises slightly.

In 25 percent of cases, more than one factor causes infertility, and some causes are harder to detect than others. In 5 to 10 percent of cases, testing reveals no abnormalities at all; doctors characterize those patients as having unexplained infertility.

Age Infertility Percentage
15-24 years old 4.0%
25-34 years old 13.2%
35-44 years old 21.3%

Biological reasons for infertility

Cause Percentage of infertile
No known Cause 44%
Tubal Factors 37%
Ovulatory Disorders 34%
Endometriosis 7%

Anai Rhoads is a medical and political researcher/writer with a particular interest in the sanctions on Iraq and the wider effect of racism's influence in the Middle East. A vegan since 2000, she is a dedicated supporter of activities which promote animal and human rights. Originally from Greece, she now resides in Virginia, USA with her husband and their two dogs, Bijou and Eva.

Copyright © Anai Rhoads. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org.