Current Concepts in Fertility Testing for Women
- Posted on: Jan 24 2014
by Dr. Deborah Smith
Couples who have unsuccessfully been trying to get pregnant for over a year should consider testing to discover the cause. Whereas the issue of infertility used to be blamed on the female, it is now known that men account for 50% of all infertility. Tests for infertility should begin immediately, such as comprehensive medical, physical assessments, testing for female fertility, and semen analysis. The first step in the process is to have your doctor refer you to a fertility physician to discuss in-depth medical and physical histories.
The Process of Testing Female Fertility
The first requirement of female fertility testing involves seeing a Colorado fertility doctor who will discuss with you in-depth about subjects including birth control methods used, history of menstrual cycle and pregnancy, sexual practices past and present, surgical history, medications used, lifestyle, stress levels and work history, and any other health related issues.
The next step is an in-depth physical examination including thyroid, hair growth, and breasts. The doctor will also perform a pelvic exam and Pap smear. Once the initial visit and exam has occurred, the Denver fertility doctor may decide to do more in-depth analysis and testing. This could include evaluating how ovulation is occurring, ovarian functionality, when the eggs are releasing, and the uterine functionality. You can provide your doctor valuable information if you have already been tracking ovulation and when it is occurring.
There are a couple of ways that ovulation evaluation can occur. You will be tested to confirm that your ovaries are releasing eggs. This could include the use of temperature charts, predictor kits, ultrasounds, and blood tests. You may also be tested to observe how your ovaries are functioning. This can include Day 3 follicles stimulating hormone (FSH) tests or the Day 3 estradiol testing to measure estrogen.
The reproductive endocrinologist may ask for another blood test to look at the levels of inhibin B, as well as another ultrasound to ensure ovulation did occur. Luteal phase testing is another possibility to test the progesterone levels, and more extensive hormone testing can be done. The extensive hormone testing will look at the DHEAS, FSH, luteinizing hormone (LH), progesterone, estradiol, free T3, prolactin, free testosterone, total testosterone, and androstenedione. Also, a possible endometrial biopsy will check on the inner mucous membrane of the uterus.
Other In-Depth Tests
Ovulation is not the only testing that could be performed. In the first evaluated fertility cycle, cervical mucus testing and ultrasounds are also performed as previously stated. The cervical mucus test involves a post-coital test to determine if sperm are able to live in the cervical mucus. Also, a possible test done involves a bacterial screening.
Ultrasound testing is another way to assess the thickness of the uterus. It will measure the thickness of the lining of the uterus or endometrium, monitor the follicle development, and check the condition of the ovaries and uterus. If ovulation has occurred, an ultrasound can also be used to see if the egg has indeed been released a few days following.
Fertility testing for women is complex and detailed in recent years, so as to pinpoint the cause of infertility. Once doctors are able to narrow down the reasons for infertility, then a treatment can be determined.
Some cases of infertility are not simple, and if a reason is not found, the couple has a few options other than adoption or fostering a child. These cases are reported to be less than 5% of all infertile couples, indicating how far fertility testing has progressed.
Tagged with: Current Concepts in Fertility Testing for Women
Posted in: Infertility Treatment