One in six couples in the U.S. has trouble getting pregnant. About 10% of women ages 15-44 have trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant. One third of cases can be attributed to male factors, and about one third to factors that affect women. In the remaining one third, infertility is caused by a combination of male and female problems, and about 20% of infertility is unexplained. The most common male factor is few or no sperm. And the most common female factor is an ovulation disorder.
When is fertility testing appropriate?
When a couple has been unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse, and the woman is younger than 35, or after six months if the woman is older than 35.
Why is fertility testing important?
Fertility testing can identify and diagnose potential causes of your infertility, and help you evaluate your options, and make decisions, and plans about your future.
Comprehensive fertility testing is essential to assess each partner’s fertility potential. Some factors are easy to detect and treat. The results will be used to formulate a plan to achieve conception and successful pregnancy.
At Ohio Reproductive Medicine you will meet with a fertility specialist called a Reproductive Endocrinologist who has the training and expertise to identify the causes of your infertility, and help you choose a course of treatment. Our patients participate in making all decisions. Our specialists will help you choose the most cost-effective approach for you to achieve a successful pregnancy.
Fertility diagnostic testing for women.
- A review of your medical history to determine whether medical conditions are affecting the ability to conceive, including family history. Age impacts a woman’s ability to conceive with her own eggs. Egg quality declines with age.
- A blood test of female hormones to identify imbalances that may be the cause of infertility. It will also evaluate ovarian reserves, ovulation problems, and egg quality and viability. This will help to maximize ovulation and egg quality for use in fertility treatments.Some conditions like PCOS or thyroid hormone problems can interfere with ovulation. Ovarian reserves define a woman’s potential to conceive with her own eggs. A blood test and possibly an ultrasound will provide insight into the woman’s ability to conceive.
- Ultrasound and radiologic tests will be used to evaluate the woman’s reproductive organs. Ultrasound evaluation of the uterus, endometrial lining and ovaries, will provide insight into whether an embryo will be able to implant and grow into a healthy baby. This test will reveal any abnormalities in the shape of the uterus, and any other problems that may interfere with the ability to carry a pregnancy to term. Fibroids and scarring can affect the lining of the uterus and prevent embryo implantation. Evaluation of the ovaries will reveal any abnormalities that could potentially cause decreased fertility and low-quality eggs.
- Evaluation of the fallopian tubes by a test called a hysterosalpingogram will provide insight into whether there is an obstruction in the fallopian tubes that could prevent the meeting of the egg and sperm. Blocked fallopian tubes can result from infection, scarring and endometriosis.
Fertility diagnostic testing for Men:
- A blood test of male hormones to evaluate imbalances that could be the cause of infertility, and testicular problems.
- Semen analysis will provide information about sperm quality, and sperm function (the ability of the sperm to penetrate the egg). This analysis will also reveal sperm count and motility – Whether there are sufficient numbers of healthy sperm, and their able to swim to reach the egg.
- Sexual dysfunction- both partners must be evaluated. Erectile dysfunction, and female vaginismus.
At Ohio Reproductive Medicine in Columbus, Ohio, we appreciate that infertility is a significant and distressing life crisis. Determining the causes of infertility, and coping with numerous medical decisions and uncertainties is a long, and emotional process. We promise to do our best to help you along in the process, respect your privacy and provide support and information so you can make informed decisions about your future.