A COMPLETE GUIDE TO FEMALE FERTILITY TESTS
Well, if you and your partner are trying to conceive but fail to do so, you may begin contemplating you should go for fertility testing. Infertility can be defined as the failure to achieve a pregnancy even after 12 months of unprotected sex. In Australia, it has a prevalence of approximately 1 in 6 couples of the reproductive age. Infertility can be due to pathology in the male partner or the female partner and rarely in both the partners. In as much as 40% of the couples, the reason of infertility is attributable to sperms, in another 40% the cause lies with the female partner in her reproductive system, and the rest 20% will have a contribution from both male and female partners.
Over 1% of births in Australia can be attributed to reproductive technologies. The dominant fertility care service providers are Virtus Health, Monash IVF Group, and Genea.
When should you see a fertility specialist and how can it help you?
Fertility specialists hold the opinion that it's time to consult a doctor if you've had regular sex without birth control for twelve months in case you are less than 35 years of age and for six months if you are over 35years of age. This is the time when the role of fertility tests comes in.
Specialists in fertility issues, also known as reproductive endocrinologists, are capable of guiding you to determine why it is taking too long to conceive.
Ideally, both male and female should be tested on their first presentation for infertility testing. However, in this guide, we will restrict ourselves to female fertility tests only.
Five common types of fertility tests:
There is no one ideal test to determine the exact cause of infertility. Reproductive endocrinologists use an array of investigations to diagnose any medical or psychological issues that might be causing you a delay in getting pregnant.
You can be offered a Pap smear which detects cancer of the cervix or any other problems with the cervix. You can be tested for the presence of sexually transmitted diseases. Any of such causes may be hindering pregnancy in your case. Five types of fertility tests are described here for your information:
Testing Egg formation (Ovulation)
This is quite simple. You can get an ovulation prediction kit over the counter from a pharmacy. This-home based kit determines the surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) that occurs just ahead of egg release (ovulation). The test can be reconfirmed using blood progesterone levels which also rise just after your egg release.
A specialized X-ray of your reproductive structures:
A specialized X-ray of your reproductive structures can be done. In the technical terms, it is called Hysterosalpingography during which an injection of contrast material can be injected into your womb and then its passage within your reproductive tract is visualized on an x-ray machine. Any abnormalities in your womb or tubes shall become evident on this test. In some cases, the test on its own can lead to an improvement in fertility by clearing opening up the blocked fallopian tubes.
Ovarian reserve testing:
This testing aids in determining the quality and quantity of eggs present for ovulation.
Hormone assays determine the levels of ovulatory hormones in the blood. They include the pituitary and thyroid hormones as well which influence the female reproduction.
Ultrasounds of your pelvic area can be done to determine any pathological causes of infertility.
In this modern and glorified era of medical science, fertility tests are readily available, cost-effective and accessible for most of the people. So, if you have any problems related to fertility, do not hesitate, and consult a fertility specialist at the earliest.