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First-Line Infertility Investigations for Men and Women

Fertility tests and diagnosis

 

Attempting to fall pregnant is not always a joyous experience, especially when a couple is worried about infertility. It’s important to note that while infertility is not uncommon, natural conception also takes time.

It is perfectly natural for couples – even young and fertile ones – to take 6 months to a year to fall pregnant. In fact, it is estimated that:

  • 60% of couples conceive within 6 months
  • 25% of couples conceive between 6 months and a year
  • 15% of couples may have to wait over a year for natural conception.

While getting pregnant can take months of repeated trying, it’s still important to be aware of infertility. If you have been attempting to fall pregnant for more than a year without success, we recommend talking to a fertility specialist for first-line investigations. If the female in the relationship is 35 or older, we recommend making these investigations after 6 months of trying.

What’s involved In First-Line Investigations?

Around half of the couples who present with infertility will go on to conceive naturally within the next two years. However, first line investigations are still important as fertility declines with age and couples who do require treatment should begin this immediately.

First line investigations take a step-up approach, meaning less invasive exams will be completed first. Initial physical assessments and questionnaires will look at things like lifestyle factors, weight and BMI. Your medical history and specific fertility and sexual health history will also be important.

Women should expect to have their pelvis examined while men will have their testicles, penis and scrotum examined for infections and abnormalities.

Front-Line Fertility Tests for Men

Initial tests for male infertility will include a semen analysis, which examines sperm concentration, mobility, morphology and other important factors.

Other tests that may be required at a later stage include prostate exams, scrotal ultrasounds, antisperm antibody tests and tubal patency assessments. Tubal patency looks at cysts, inflammation and disease in the male’s reproductive tubes to rule out male-factor infertility.

Front-Line Fertility Tests for Women

Blood tests are a large part of front-line testing for female infertility. These blood tests measure important hormones that contribute to and control female fertility. These include:

  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone blood test – a hormone related to fertile egg growth
  • Luteinising Hormone blood test – another hormone connected to rapid follicle growth for fertile eggs
  • Prolactin hormone blood test – raised levels of this hormone may indicate pituitary or other problems
  • Thyrotrophin hormone blood test –this hormone indicates whether the thyroid gland is underactive and contributing to irregular periods
  • Androgen hormone blood test – raised levels of this hormone may indicate PCOS or other ovulation problems

Tubal Patency and Other Tests for Women

Over time, other tests for women may include fallopian tube patency assessments, which can determine whether the fallopian tubes are a factor in female infertility.

You can learn more about Tubal Patency Infertility tests and treatments here.

Other tests that may be involved in diagnosing female infertility include ultrasounds of the ovaries and uterus and Ovarian Reserve Testing (a blood test that indicates egg health and numbers).

Complete Guidance for Infertility Diagnosis and Treatment

Depending on the outcome of your tests, treatment may include IVF, surgery, other Assisted Reproductive Technologies or simply lifestyle changes coupled with regular unprotected intercourse. Whatever your situation, Dr Alex Polyakov can guide you and explain your treatment options, diagnoses and results. To speak to a fertility and IVF specialist in East Melbourne, call 03 9998 6085 or contact Dr Alex online.