Tests That Can Help Determine Fertility

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For most people starting a family isn’t something that ends up taking a lot of time, but for others it can be a long, stressful, and anxious time. Most people don’t have any reason to think that there is anything wrong with them, but then the doubt starts to creep in as time progresses.

Many couples, both men, and women, end up asking themselves, “Am I to blame? Am I stopping us from getting pregnant?” If that is the case, the best thing to do is to visit the doctors at an Idaho Falls fertility clinic, and get an expert’s opinion on your reproductive system and its health. Some of the common tests below can quickly pinpoint a problem and help couples start their family quickly.

Sperm/Semen Analysis

One of the first tests that reproductive doctors like to give if their patients are struggling to conceive is the sperm analysis. When couples are having difficulty getting pregnant, 50 percent of the time it is due to male factors. Since a woman can have a number of different issues, a male can basically only have one issue and that is sperm count and or quality.

There is only one test to determine this so if a doctor can find out that the male is the one causing infertility, the diagnosis will be much quicker. The simple test is to look under a microscope of a sample of a man’s semen and to count how many sperm there are, as well as the quality of his sperm. If his sperm is not the ideal shape, or there is too low of a count, this will help in determining if the infertility is a male factor or not.

If a sperm is in an incorrect shape, it is referred to as “abnormal morphology.” If this is the case, sperm will not be able to swim in a straight line or in the correct direction due to the incorrect shape of the tail, and will not be able to penetrate the egg due to the poor shape of the head of the sperm. The fix for poor sperm quality and the count would be to do an IUI, after taking medication to increase the sperm count.

HSG (Hysterosalpingography)

HSG is an x-ray of the uterus that is taken when dye is injected into the uterus. This dye makes it so that the uterus and fallopian tubes are visible on the x-ray. The purpose of this test is to see if the fallopian tubes are open, and to make sure the uterus looks normal.

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If a patient is struggling with infertility, it is possible that the tubes could be blocked due to debris, or due to fibroids (endometriosis.) If it appears that one of the tubes is blocked, this HSG test is often able to actually open up the tube by pushing more fluid into the uterine cavity, pushing out the debris. If this is the case, it is incredibly painful, but does help patients in unblocking their tubes. When this is the cause of infertility, often patients are able to become pregnant after the HSG opens up the tubes.

Sonohysterogram

A sonohysterogram is a water ultrasound. It is basically a similar process as the HSG, but less painful because the water is allowed to flow in and out of the uterus and not just in. The doctor will use an ultrasound machine while there is water flowing in and out of the uterus that is inserted by way of a catheter. In one of these water ultrasounds, doctors will be able to see if the uterine cavity, walls and lining looks good or not.

They will be able to see if any polyps or fibroids have developed on the walls of the uterus. Polyps are growths that would block an embryo to the wall lining, preventing implantation. Polyps can be common, but are simple to remove. Your doctor may suggest you be put under anesthesia, but the process of polyp removal is fast and easy. When polyps are the cause of infertility, many women report that they are able to conceive after the polyps have been removed.

Bloodwork

A blood sample will be able to show doctors if your hormones seem to be balanced. You will most likely be checked for progesterone levels to determine when and if you are ovulating. Your levels fluctuate throughout your cycle, and if they are not fluctuating properly, this could be a sign that you may have PCOS.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disorder which causes facial hair growth, excess weight gain, and infertility due to excess male hormone levels. Usually if hormones are off, doctors will be able to balance them with medication such as birth control pills like estrogen or progesterone.

If you are experiencing difficulty in conceiving, usually the sooner you get checked with one of these tests, the better. These tests are simple and can help your doctor to see a lot more of exactly what is going on inside your reproductive system and will be able to help you in your fertility journey. Being able to have answers can help calm your anxiety in knowing if you are fertile or not.

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