Infertility Testing: What It Is And Getting Started

Infertility can be a scary word. But the reality is that an estimated 10-15% couples struggle with infertility and conceiving. In order to effectively navigate the tricky issue of infertility and infertility testing, it’s important to understand what it is and the different avenues of treatment.

What is infertility?

The definition of infertility is the inability to conceive after 12 months of continuous, unprotected intercourse. However, if the woman is older than the age of 35, it is defined as infertility after an unsuccessful six months of continuous, unprotected intercourse in order to conceive. The age bracket here is important because it will determine when a diagnostic evaluation can take place.

Aside from age, diagnostic evaluations may be warranted if the following factors are present:

  • History of early menopause
  • Irregular menses
  • Damaged fallopian tubes
  • Advanced stage endometriosis
  • History of cancer treatments  

Testing for infertility

Women who suspect they are experiencing infertility can request an appointment with their healthcare provider. During this initial exam, a review of medical history and a physical exam will be done in order to determine the next step of the diagnostic evaluation.

There are many factors that a healthcare provider will take into consideration when deciding what tests to run. They may include age, lifestyle, and medical history, among others. Providers typically use their medical knowledge and experience to determine if there should be tests done to rule out underlying issues such as high prolactin levels, abnormal androgen levels or thyroid disorders. 

Basic infertility testing

There are several basic infertility tests that can help determine the cause of infertility and shed light on the best course of treatment.

  • Saline Infusion Sonogram – this can be done to assess if there are any abnormalities in the uterus. It is done by putting a small amount of saline in the uterus to open it up, and then a sonogram is done to take images.

 

  • Ovarian Reserve Testing – this type of testing is done to help the provider determine the quality of eggs produced by the fallopian tubes. This can be done through blood testing, transvaginal ultrasounds, or both methods.
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) – This is a test that can determine if the fallopian tubes are open as well as gauging the shape of the endometrial cavity. This test is done at the hospital in an outpatient setting. Dye is pushed through the uterus and tubes and images are taken of the dye to evaluate abnormalities of the uterus and determine if the tubes are patent.

 

A healthcare provider may opt for other testing methods beyond these basic infertility tests, and there may be times where a laparoscopy or another surgical procedure is necessary to conduct testing. 

When all the testing has been completed, a follow up appointment with the healthcare provider will be scheduled. At this appointment, the healthcare provider will review the results and take a collaborative approach with the patient for treatment.

Infertility treatment

Treating infertility can be done in several different ways. A healthcare provider will be able lay out the best options and work collaboratively to formulate a treatment plan. 

Some of the most common infertility treatments include

 

  • Medication to stimulate ovulation
  • Assisted Reproductive Technology

 

Fertility medication and insemination methods

For women who have irregular menses or no menses at all, ovulation can be induced by administering a medication regimen. Women who have PCOS, thyroid disorders, eating disorders, or other medical complications, are most likely to have ovulatory dysfunction that require this avenue of treatment. However, there are exceptions, and a healthcare provider will know if this is the appropriate option. 

The goal of fertility medication is what is called controlled ovarian stimulation (COS). This is when more than one follicle per menstrual cycle is produced. Some of the most common medications used for this purpose are clomiphene citrate, aromatase inhibitors (i.e. Letrozole), and gonadotropins. 

These medications can be administered orally or by injection and combined with any of several methods for conceiving. These methods are 

 

  • Timed Intercourse – This method consists of timing intercourse to coincide with ovulation
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI) – This is when sperm is collected and then passed through a small catheter inserted into the cervix into the uterus. This procedure is also timed with ovulation.
  • In-vitro fertilization (IVF) – This procedure involves the removal of a woman’s eggs and combining them with sperm in a laboratory dish to hopefully produce an embryo. If an embryo is produced, it will be transferred to the woman’s uterus.

 

If there are concerns about infertility and its many treatments, talk to your healthcare provider and schedule an appointment. 

We Care About Your Health!

At Women’s Healthcare Associates we have a goal to provide you with one of the best experiences in women’s care in the greater Amarillo area. Our professional Staff offers personal care that focuses on the health and well-being of our patients as individuals. Our Services include comprehensive healthcare specialized just for women, prenatal and pregnancy care, digital mammography, bone density screening, ultrasound, contraception, menopause and more. For more information about how our comprehensive women’s healthcare can help you, please give us a call at (806) 355-6330.

 

Sign Up for Our Newsletter:

Recent Posts

The Different Types of Breast Cancer

Learn More

Infertility Testing: What It Is And Getting Started

Learn More

Gestational Diabetes Explained: Causes, Risks, And Treatment

Learn More

location

Women’s Healthcare Associates

1301 S Coulter St # 300
Amarillo, TX 79106

Phone: (806) 355-6330

Best of Amarillo 2018

© Women'Healthcare Associates 2017 - All rights reserved
Website design and marketing by UCI Digital

© Women'Healthcare Associates 2017 - All rights reserved
Website design and marketing by UCI Digital