Diagnosing female infertility guide
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Fertility testing for women
For the woman, basic testing begins with the medical interview and physical exam.
A complete related medical history interview will cover:
- Menstrual history
- Pregnancy history
- Birth control history
- History of sexually transmitted diseases
- Current sexual patterns
- Surgical history
- Other significant health problems
- Lifestyle and work environment
A complete related physical examination may include:
- Thyroid exam – palpation of throat area
- Hair distribution- any unusual or excessive hair patterns on your face and body
- Breast examination- size, shape, and whether nipples leak
- Pelvic examination- signs of unusual growths, sores, discharge, or infection; PAP smear, cervical fluid sample
Additional testing — via urine or blood tests and pelvic imaging — may be performed to confirm if ovulation is occurring, predict upcoming ovulation cycles, evaluate ovarian reserve, and measure how ready the uterus is for a pregnancy.
If the woman has regular menstrual cycles, the couple can do the following tests at home to make sure they are having sex at the woman’s most fertile time:
- Basal Body Temperature Charts: Tracking BBT (basal body temperature) is a way to document whether ovulation has occurred.
- Ovulation Predictor Kits: Measuring the LH level in urine can indicate that ovulation will likely occur within the next 36 hours.
Testing performed in the fertility physician’s office and lab will be conducted at different points in a woman’s cycle.
Blood tests performed specifically on the second or third day of the woman’s menstrual cycle will measure follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol (a type of estrogen.) These tests can give an indication of ovarian reserve.
Blood tests can also measure the amount of prolactin, androgen, and thyroid stimulating hormone. A transvaginal ultrasound may be performed several days after the LH surge to determine if ovulation has occurred. A blood test in the last part of your cycle can measure progesterone to confirm ovulation.
The following procedures are sometimes used to diagnose any structural problems with the reproductive system: