Infertility Testing for Women
If you believe you are experiencing infertility problems, you’re not alone – up to 18 percent of couples have difficulty conceiving and Dr. Cook provides comprehensive fertility testing for women.
Female infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after a year, while having sex frequently.
Approximately one-third of infertility issues can be traced to female factors and one-third to male issues. The remaining one-third is either due to unknown causes or a combination of male and female factors.
The exact cause of female infertility can be extremely difficult to diagnose. Multiple testing methods are available to determine the cause. A variety of treatment options are available, dependent upon the results of your fertility testing, and you may become pregnant even without treatment.
While the main symptom of infertility is the inability to conceive, there are numerous conditions and situations that can interfere with conception. There may be obvious signs that a problem exists or no symptoms at all.
One reason for infertility is an absence of ovulation and you should watch for:
- Menstrual cycle longer than 35 day
- A menstrual cycle of 21 days or less
- Irregular periods
- Absence of periods
When you seek help from your gynecologist will depend largely upon your age. For instance:
- Up to age 35 – your gynecologist will typically recommend trying to conceive for at least a year before any testing or treatment takes place
- Between 35-40 – you should discuss any concerns with your gynecologist if you haven’t become pregnant after six months of trying
- Age 40 and over – your gynecologist may recommend immediate testing and treatment
There are situations in which your gynecologist may recommend testing and treatment right away if:
- You or your partner has known fertility issues
- A history of painful or irregular periods
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Multiple miscarriages
- Prior treatment for cancer
Causes of infertility
Getting pregnant is a complex process that requires four elements working together at just the right time and order for you to successfully conceive. If any of those are absent, pregnancy won’t occur. They are:
- Ovulation – your ovaries must produce and release an egg
- Sperm – your partner needs viable sperm to fertilize the egg
- Sex during your most fertile time
- Open fallopian tubes and a healthy uterus
Any number of things can disrupt the process of getting pregnant and it’s essential that you consult with your gynecologist to determine the cause of infertility. Ovulation disorders resulting from reproductive hormones are common, accounting for infertility in 1 of 4 couples. You may be experiencing
- A hormone imbalance that causes excesses or deficiencies
- Pituitary dysfunction
- A specific autoimmune response
Other elements and risk factors that affect fertility include:
- Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes
- Previous abdominal surgery
- Benign polyps or fibroids
- Uterine abnormalities present at birth
- Narrowing of the cervix
- Insufficient cervical mucus
- Alcohol use
- Sexual history
In some instances, the cause of infertility can’t be determined or corrects itself over time, but you still need to consult with your gynecologist to explore all your options.
Multiple testing techniques are available to determine the cause of female infertility. To ascertain ovulation, hormone and blood tests may be utilized along with techniques to determine quality and quantity of available eggs. Imaging tests that use x-rays and ultrasound may also be ordered. Genetic testing and minimally-invasive surgical techniques are also available for finding potential reasons of infertility.
Infertility is complex, and finding the cause involves significant cost, and requires a physical, psychological and time commitment from you. The type of infertility treatment will depend on the cause, your age, how long you’ve trying to conceive, and individual preferences.
Medications can be used to stimulate ovulation and address issues such as insulin resistance and pituitary dysfunction. Surgery may be utilized to remove, repair or correct physical problems with your reproductive system. Other options include implantation of healthy sperm in the uterus, or taking your eggs and fertilizing them within a lab before implanting the fertilized egg in the uterus.
Consult with your gynecologist
Your reproductive system is a complex system and even the slightest disruption can interfere with conception. Hormones, damaged reproductive organs, and even stress can prevent conception. The only way to identify the cause of infertility is to consult with your gynecologist and have the appropriate testing performed for your health and peace of mind.
For same day appointments please call us at (770) 431-2322. We make every effort to respond to your request right away during regular business hours.