So, when is the right time to get these tests? SmartParents checked with gynae Dr Christopher Chong. He advised that you should seek help after six months of unsuccessful and regular attempts to conceive ― especially if you or your spouse are 35 years old or older, and are facing medical issues that may affect fertility.
Seek help after six months of unsuccessful and regular attempts to conceive ― especially if you or your spouse are 35 years old or older.
Dr. Chong adds that “very often, no known cause can be found” for a couple’s infertility if they have been TTC. Here is a list of seven tests that your doctor may ask you to take to determine why you haven’t been able to conceive:
1) Physical exam
This is probably the first test and most basic test you would take. The doctor will check your and your spouse’s reproductive organs to find if these have any possible problems. Dr Chong adds that he also takes note of the couple’s medical and sexual history.
2) Blood tests
Various blood tests, which require blood samples, check for details like you and your spouse’s hormone levels.
Some blood tests examine the woman’s Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and progesterone to check if she is ovulating, while the thyroid function test is to determine if she has any hormonal imbalances that prevent her from ovulating. In addition, the Anti-Mullerian Hormone test and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) test checks the ovarian reserve or egg supply.
3) Semen analysis
This test not only look at the amount of semen, it examines in detail the amount of normal-looking sperm, white blood cells and sperm with normal motion. The lab can also find out from the semen if the guy has other problems that are affecting his fertility.
4) Ovulation test
Ovulation predictor kits that lets you know when you are ovulating are used in this test that you will carry out over several months in your own home.
Here’s how the kit works ― it should become positive one day before ovulation, when there is a sudden rise of Luteinizing Hormone in your urine.
“Natural conception cannot take place if there are blocked tubes.”
5) Pelvic ultrasound
Your doctor performs an ultrasound to examine the ovaries and womb for possible problems and signs of polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a condition marked by a higher level of male hormones. This test also looks at your ovarian reserve.
6) Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test
A more “invasive” test, it’s something that’s done if you need further assessment. In this test, dye is injected into the cervix and through the fallopian tubes to detect any blockage, and X-ray pictures taken. It is crucial that the fallopian tubes are clear of any blockage, as this is where the sperm meets the egg. “Natural conception cannot take place if there are blocked tubes”, Dr Chong explains.
This test is even more invasive than the HSG test, according to Dr. Chong. After the patient is rendered unconscious under general anaesthesia, key-hole surgery (a small camera attached to a tube is inserted into incisions made on the stomach) is performed to detect any cysts or other problems.
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