Fertility Testing - The First Step of Infertility Treatment
Fertility testing should be considered if you and your partner have been having difficulty conceiving a child after at least one year of unprotected sex. Simple fertility testing, such as tracking ovulation cycles, can start at home and may alert the female partner to a potential problem.
If an abnormality is found, a visit to an infertility specialist is warranted. Once testing has been completed by both partners, the specialist will be able to determine what is hindering conception. According to www.americanpregnancy.org and other numerous sources, male infertility is a factor in approximately 50% of cases, which is why a semen analysis is so important.
Sometimes even after extensive testing, an exact cause cannot be found, which can be greatly discouraging, but there are steps that can be taken to improve the odds.
Before treatment for infertility can begin, factors such as the woman’s age and ovulatory cycle patterns need to be considered when determining if testing and treatment should be pursued. A physical exam of the female partner will be done first, in addition to a pelvic ultrasound to assess the thickness of the uterine lining, to monitor follicular development, and to assess the overall condition of the uterus and ovaries.
Blood fertility testing is ordered at specific intervals to check for abnormalities, which usually include follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), progesterone, and estradiol. A sample of the cervical mucous and an endometrial biopsy can also be obtained early on to determine hormone abnormality, and if any bacteria is present, which can prevent sperm from penetrating and surviving.
Other diagnostic tests may also be done, such as a hysteroscopy, hysterosalpingogram, or laparoscopy that are done on an outpatient basis, to look for possible scarring, cysts, fibroid tumors, or any other abnormalities.
As you can see, fertility testing can be quite vigorous and stressful for couples seeking treatment for infertility. On the bright side, two out of three couples that seek medical intervention give birth eventually (www.fertilityjourney.com). This is very encouraging, but on the downside, more advanced testing and treatment measures may not be covered by health insurance companies in states that don’t mandate coverage for infertility.
Basic fertility testing may be covered, but procedures like in vitro fertilization (IVF) or gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT) would not be covered. Many couples have taken out personal loans and second mortgages to pay for help getting pregnant and a chance at conceiving a child, The good news is that many more are successful than not.