Once the embryo arrives in the uterus it sheds its shell and implants into the uterine lining. The newly implanted embryo begins producing a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The hCG produced by the tiny embryo is first detectable in a woman's bloodstream. As the hCG level rises, some of it passes through a woman's kidneys and ends up in her urine. Testing for hCG in the blood or urine is the basis for blood and urine pregnancy tests.
Every couple who has had one year or more of unprotected intercourse without conceiving should seek help. However, if you have one or more of the following symptoms or conditions you should speak with your doctor and not wait for one full year.
If you are a woman...
If you are a man...
You can begin your fertility tests at home before you even see your doctor. One of the most important questions that your doctor will ask is, "Do you produce an egg every month?" There are two simple tests that you can do at home to help answer this question. Each test will require a trip to your local pharmacy and a modest investment of a few dollars.
Basal Body Temperature Chart
First, you need to purchase a basal body temperature thermometer. To determine if you are releasing an egg each month, begin taking your temperature with this special sensitive thermometer before you get out of bed each morning. Start taking your temperature on the first day of your period. Chart the results of your temperature on the special graph paper that accompanies your thermometer. Also mark the chart each time you have intercourse. At the end of he month, examine the pattern of your chart. If you notice that the temperature in the morning is lower in the first 10 to 14 days of the month than in the last 10 to 14 days, then it is likely that you are producing an egg. I recommend to my patients that they keep a basal body temperature chart for approximately three months.
Next, look at the chart and see where you have marked the chart for intercourse. Do the marks correspond to the time around the temperature change? If they do, then you are timing intercourse to the release of the egg in an appropriate manner.
Whether or not your temperature chart matches the above description, the information that you have gathered will be very useful to your doctor.
Ovulation Predictor Kits
Another test for ovulation that you can do at home is generally called an ovulation predictor kit. There are many brands to choose from at your local pharmacy. These kits allow you to test your urine for the presence of the hormone LH. Since LH rises temporarily just before ovulation, the indicator stick in the test kit will change color just before the egg is released. I recommend that you begin testing your urine on cycle day 10 (cycle day 1 is the first day of full menstrual flow). Continue testing your urine daily until you detect a color change on the indicator stick.
When your indicator stick changes color, plan to have intercourse that day and/or the following day. Also, keep a record of the cycle day number when the indicator stick changes color. Whether or not the ovulation predictor kit changes color, the information that you have gathered will be very useful to your doctor.
There are two tests that every infertile couple needs to have.