When you have been unable to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy, fertility testing may be needed. Most fertility tests are minimally invasive procedures that are performed during an office visit with your doctor. Your doctor can order multiple tests at once in order to get a clear idea of your fertility situation. Keep these tips about fertility testing in mind when you visit your doctor.
When Fertility Testing is Recommended
If you have been unable to get pregnant after trying for six months and you are under the age of 35, your doctor may recommend fertility testing. Women ages 35 and older who have been trying to get pregnant without success for 12 months or longer may also need to have this testing done. If you have menstrual irregularities or you already know that you have a hormone disorder such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, this is another reason why fertility testing is recommended. If you have had a past medical problem with your reproductive system, such as endometriosis or ovarian cysts, fertility testing may be needed.
At-home Fertility Monitoring and Testing
There are some fertility tests that you can do at home. Taking your daily basal body temperature throughout your menstrual cycle can indicate if and when you are ovulating. This activity can also help you to determine the length of your cycle between ovulation and your period. If this length is too short, your hormone levels may be off and unable to support implantation of a fertilized egg. You can also do saliva tests with a microscope to monitor your fertility levels. Another at-home observation to make is your cervical mucus. Around the time of ovulation, cervical mucus looks like egg whites and is released by your body in greater amounts than at other times of your menstrual cycle. This quality of mucus facilitates the movement of sperm in the reproductive tract, helping to boost the likelihood that an egg will get fertilized.
Female Fertility Testing
In some cases, your usual gynecologist may refer you to the specialist if a problem is discovered and it is an issue best treated by a specialist. If you need to undergo a female fertility test, you may see a gynecologist or a reproductive endocrinologist. There are many types of female fertility tests that your physician may order. Your doctor may want to check whether you are ovulating. This involves tests such as a vaginal ultrasound and blood tests for hormones such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). If you have irregular periods, your doctor may order tests for estradiol and progesterone. Your doctor may also request other tests, such as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), inhibin B, testosterone and free T3.
Repeating Fertility Tests
If your fertility tests were borderline, your doctor may have you repeat them. In some cases, you will need to monitor your signs of fertility over a period of a few months. For example, you may need to monitor your ovulation times for three to six months so that your doctor can get a clear idea of whether or not you ovulate regularly or if you sometimes skip ovulation. If you have an abnormal test result, the test may need to be repeated. When your doctor recommends a treatment, such as progesterone shots, more fertility tests may be needed to see how well your treatment is working.
Fertility testing is a process that many women go through. If you have questions, your doctor and the medical staff will answer them and alleviate your concerns. Today’s fertility tests offer accurate and precise results that may help to guide treatments so that you can achieve a healthy pregnancy.