According to the World Health Organization (WHO), women trying to get pregnant for at least 12 months without success may be diagnosed with infertility problems by their physician. Fertility specialists also take other factors into consideration when making this diagnosis, such as prior miscarriages, number of previous pregnancies, menstrual period irregularities and whether the woman has a history of vaginal bleeding or pelvic infections. Initial screenings for infertility or conception problems also include physical exams, Pap tests, pelvic ultrasounds/exams and possibly blood tests to determine if hormone abnormalities exist.
Blood tests taken between day 22 and day 23 of a woman’s menstrual cycle measures progesterone (a hormone primary for ovulation and conception) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). which can help a fertility doctor estimate the quantity of a patient’s egg supply. Higher than normal FSH could indicate a woman is in perimenopause or is suffering ovarian failure. Lower than normal FSH levels may mean she is no longer producing eggs. Examination of the fallopian tubes for signs of blockage (x-ray hysterosalpingogram) or a laparoscopy to evaluate all reproductive organs may be ordered as well.
An infertility specialist will also examine the interior of the uterus for signs of scarring, polyps or uterine fibroids. Transvaginal ultrasounds, hysteroscopies or saline sonohysterograms provide doctors with detailed views of the inner lining of the uterus.
Men trying to achieve conception with their partner for 12 months when the partner does not have issues with fertility will need to undergo male fertility testing. Doctors will evaluate possible hormone deficiencies, determine if signs of decreased body/facial hair and muscle mass exist and ask if the patient has had past trauma to their penis or testicles. Physical examination of the penis and tests also allows doctors to identify problems associated with infertility, such as infection, hernia, and varicocele ( scrotum vein abnormalities). Sperm samples provide information about the quality and health of sperm while genetic testing may be necessary before initiating treatment if few or no sperm are found in semen samples.
Fertility Options for Women Who Can’t Get Pregnant Naturally
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is commonly performed when men have low sperm counts, reduced sperm motility or neurological problems. IUI is also recommended for unexplained fertility or if donor sperm is required for conception.
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) may be implemented for women with pelvic scarring, endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes or unexplained fertility. After your doctor retrieves eggs from your ovaries, the eggs are fertilized by sperm in laboratory conditions. Once they grow into embryos, they are then implanted in the uterus. IVF is one of the most requested and successful infertility procedures available.
To treat absent or irregular ovulation, your fertility doctor may recommend ovulation induction using fertility medications and hormone therapy. Injectable gonadotropins or clomiphene citrate can help restore ovulation and increase the chances of conception for women who wish to get pregnant.
Learn more about infertility testing, IUI, IVF and ovulation induction by calling New York Reproductive Wellness today at (516) 612-8466.