Fertility tests are an essential aspect of fertility evaluation and treatment. For women, experts recommend an infertility evaluation if you have not gotten pregnant after one year of having regular sexual intercourse without using birth control. If you are older than 35, an evaluation is recommended after 6 months of trying.
Your regular gynecologist may do some basic testing. Or you may be referred to a reproductive endocrinologist (a doctor specializing in fertility hormones) or a urologist (for male infertility) for more thorough fertility testing.
Check out this detailed guide to know more about male fertility tests and couple fertility tests.
While many women believe fertility testing is important for their infertility issues, fertility testing is needed for both partners. Here are a few facts about infertility.
Go through this detailed guide on Fertility 101 to understand just how fertility works in women. Keep reading to know what fertility tests you might need.
For women, fertility testing starts with a basic gynecological exam. Your doctor might need details like:
The physician will also conduct a thorough physical check-up. They will look at your thyroid, breasts, hair growth, and pelvic area. They may also conduct a pap smear test (which involves collecting cells from your cervix – the lower, narrow end of your uterus that’s at the top of your vagina – to test for cervical cancer). They may also test for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) if needed.
Next, the doctor might want to start with some early tests. Most of these are around ovulation. Many women track their menstrual and ovulation cycles currently, using specific apps or even a fertility monitor.
Whether you are planning a pregnancy or having trouble conceiving, and have already started tracking your cycles, ovulation, luteal phases, etc., the information can be valuable for your fertility testing. Usually, one of the first questions regarding female fertility is whether you are ovulating or not.
Women need to “ovulate” or release an egg to get pregnant. Most gynecologists will need to confirm that you are ovulating and to determine at what point in the period this happens.
Your doctor may also run tests on your thyroid, or check for other hormonal problems, to rule out conditions that might cause missed or irregular ovulation.
There are several tests that can help show a woman’s fertility potential, also called ovarian reserve or Ovarian Function tests. These tests are meant to check how hormones are functioning during your ovulation cycle.
A vaginal ultrasound might be done in the early part of your menstrual cycle to check the number of immature follicles in the ovary. These small follicles or antral follicles are where your eggs develop. It is possible to determine how many eggs are available for maturation, by checking the number of antral follicles.
No single ovulation test can predict a woman’s ability to get pregnant. These tests are often used to develop a treatment plan. As always, at Sepalika, we recommend building on your foundational health to allow for natural fertility.
Serum Progesterone test that is done on Day 21, assuming you have a 28-day cycle.
When natural pregnancy attempts fail and your doctor feels the need for IVF or artificial insemination, you may need to check your uterus, ovaries, and the fallopian tube for any structural defects. Depending on your specific case, your doctor might ask you to do certain procedures and tests to check these organs.
Note that your doctor might ask you to do any of these procedures if needed, to check for and correct any major issues affecting your fertility.
To know more about couple or at-home fertility tests, click here.<hyperlink>
To know more about male fertility testing, click here.<hyperlink>
Once fertility testing is done, go back to your doctor (gynecologist, endocrinologist, urologist, etc.) and discuss the results.
But keep in mind that even if these test results come up as “normal”, if you are still struggling to conceive, it’s possible that there are foundational issues at the core of your fertility problems.
Your gut, liver, thyroid hormone, digestive system, sleep, stress, lifestyle – all these collaborate to help you produce a new life inside you.
Reproductive system experts like gynecologists and IVF doctors often do not pay attention to your health foundations like diet, vitamin deficiencies, etc. By testing the foundational aspects of your health – blood sugar, protein absorption, inflammation and even hidden thyroid issues, functional medicine experts are able to identify causes of infertility that lie outside the reproductive system.