A couple is diagnosed as infertile if trying to get pregnant for at least one year but has been unsuccessful. Almost 16% of all couples are affected by infertility of which female infertility responsible for approximately five out of 10 cases of infertility. Women may be infertile due to various causes such as increased age, damaged ovaries, uterus or fallopian tubes, hormonal problems and improperly functioning cervix. In order to determine the cause of female fertility, women need to undergo female fertility tests.
When does a woman require to undergo fertility testing?
If a healthy woman under 35 has not been able to conceive through normal sexual intercourse despite trying for a year, consult the doctor, and undergo fertility tests. For a healthy woman over 35 years of age, undergo fertility tests if trying to conceive naturally for 6 months.
What is the female fertility procedure?
Tests for female fertility begin with the doctor going through detailed medical history. The doctor will also ask about the regularity of the menstrual periods, the methods of birth control used, and the previous sexual habits. Also ask for if smoke, drink alcohol, use drugs, or take any medications. Then, the doctor will do a physical examination and a pelvic examination. After this, the doctor will do a test for ovulation and make sure the ovaries and uterus are functioning normally. Next, the doctor may recommend further tests such as hormone blood tests, laparoscopy, etc.
9 common fertility tests for women
A woman needs to undergo multiple female fertility tests to determine why she is unable to conceive. The types of tests are as follows –
The doctor will check to see if you are ovulating normally through various methods. The doctor will ask to monitor the basal body temperature for a continuous period of time to make a temperature chart that can indicate the time of ovulation. The doctor will also test for ovulation prediction sticks available in pharmacies. Finally, the doctor will do ultrasounds and blood tests to confirm ovulation.
Ovarian function test
These tests check to ensure that the hormones are working normally when ovulating. Examples of these tests are the third-day follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) test, third-day estrogen level test, ultrasound, and blood tests.
It is conducted to ensure that the uterus and ovaries are functioning normally and to determine the thickness of the uterine lining. It is also done to check if ovarian follicles are developing normally. These ovarian follicles secrete hormones that trigger the release of an egg during ovulation.
This test will check on the progesterone levels in the body and include more thorough hormone tests. The luteal phase of the ovulation cycle occurs after the egg is released. The hormones secreted in the body make the uterus lining gets thicker to prepare for a pregnancy.
Hormone blood tests
This test for female fertility involves extensive testing of the functioning of various hormones in the body that are involved in the female reproductive cycle. The female hormone blood tests for fertility include testing for hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, luteinizing hormone, testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, prolactin, inhibin B, and dehydroepiandrosterone.
It is conducted by injecting a dye into the fallopian tubes and uterus. Next, an x-ray technician will examine the uterus and fallopian tubes to check for blockages and abnormalities, which the dye will highlight. This test is conducted between day 6 to day 14 of the cycle.
It is conducted under general anesthesia. The doctor will make a minor incision on the abdomen and insert a fiber-optic tube with a camera known as a laparoscope into the abdomen to get a clear view of the uterus, ovaries, and the fallopian tubes. If the doctor finds any abnormalities like abnormal growths or endometriosis, these will be removed using a laser.
This test will check the cervical mucus to see if sperms can survive and get through the cervical mucus. The test will also check for the presence of harmful bacteria. Cervical mucus is a fluid secreted by a woman’s cervix and the fluid provides the sperms with protection and nutrition as make way up the female reproductive tract to fertilize the egg. Cervical mucus production is stimulated by the hormone estrogen. The cervical mucus test is usually a post-coital test which will enable the doctor to examine a sample of the woman’s cervical mucus under a microscope to check if the sperm is able to swim in the mucus.
It is a procedure in which a tube with a camera called a hysteroscope is inserted via the cervix. It enables the doctor to get a clear view of the inside of the uterus to check for abnormalities. The hysteroscope can also take pictures that can be examined afterward.
In this test, a small piece of tissue is scraped out from the lining of the uterus called the endometrium, just before a woman’s period begins.
This is a very common fertility test for women and is used instead of the hysterosalpingogram test.
If failed to conceive through regular intercourse for a year, speak to the doctor. Keep in mind that the doctor will undergo specific tests depending on medical history, general health, sexual practices and age.