Fertility Testing For Women

When a woman is ready to have a baby, there is nothing as frustrating as being unable to conceive.  There are many ways that women can evaluate their fertility at home, and there are many things that doctors can do to help with this issue as well.  Becoming informed helps to ease the stress of potential infertility and to help put a couple on the track towards successful conception.  


Home Fertility Tests

Before seeing a specialist about female infertility, you should be doing a number of tests at home.  Any specialist will want to know that you've been trying to conceive for a steady period of time (anywhere from six months to two years) and they will want to know that you aren't nursing during this time.  While trying to conceive, it's important that you are monitoring your basal body temperature and using an ovulation predictor.  You can show these charts and tests to your specialist so that he or she can analyze the results and see how your body has been functioning over the months.  There is one other interesting home fertility test for women called an OV Watch. It's actually a watch that the woman wears to detect the amount of ions released in her perspiration.  There is usually a surge in these ions about six days before ovulation, and the watch can inform you of when you are most fertile by detecting this surge.


Seeing A Specialist

If you've already waited a period of time and have still not become pregnant, it's probably time to see your general doctor and then a specialist.  Your doctor will do a number of blood tests that evaluate your level of estrogen, the level of follicle stimulating hormones, the progesterone levels and others.  Doctors are well aware of these tests and will know which to give to you and when.  During your first visit, your doctor will want to get a base line understanding of what your body is doing.  You'll be asked to come in on the third day of your cycle to measure your follicle stimulating hormone levels and your luteinizing hormone levels.  During your second visit, which should be right before ovulation, you'll usually have a cervical mucus test to see if sperm can get through and survive in your mucus; an ultrasound test to see the thickness of your uterus lining and to check your uterus and ovaries; and hormone tests to look at your hormone levels.


If The Tests Are Positive, Negative

At the same time, your partner will also undergo male fertility testing to ensure that his semen is healthy and that his sperm is at a normal count.  Should any of these tests come back indicating a problem, your doctor will then proceed to explain to you how to handle the issue.  Should all of these tests come back normal, then there are more tests that a specialist might perform.  These tests include an HSG (x-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes), a hysteroscopy (hysteroscope inserted through the cervix into the uterus), a laparoscopy (telescope inserted through the abdomen to look at uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries) and an endometrial biopsy (scraping a small amount of tissue before menstruation from the endometrium).  Should you need to do any of this testing, your specialist will explain everything fully and will choose the tests that he or she deems the most appropriate for your situation.

While infertility is certainly frustrating and depressing, ignorance and uncertainty are even more nerve-racking.  It's important to understand your situation and to uncover any fertility problems that you might have so that you can experience the joys of parenthood.