Infertility is often a lonely place to be. It can make you feel hopeless as you dream of playing your bundle of joy. It is a serious concern, which can affect couples and change their lives drastically.
If you and your partner have tried for more than one full year to conceive but have not been able to, you should consider taking tests for infertility. It is more common than thought of and affects millions of people of reproductive age worldwide.
Causes of Infertility in Women
Women aged 15 to 45 years may experience difficulty in conceiving or carrying a full-term pregnancy. Some common lifestyle causes that can affect your fertility include:
- Obesity and corpulence
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Drug abuse
- Many medical conditions can also cause infertility in women.
- Ovulation disorders appear to be the most common cause of infertility in women.
- Disorders of the ovaries, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and other follicular disorders.
- Poor egg quality
- Genetic abnormalities during pregnancy. For this, women of older age are at higher risk.
- Problems in the uterus or fallopian tubes can block the egg from travelling from the ovary to the uterus or womb.
- Thyroid disorder.
Causes of Infertility in Men
- Low sperm count: A sperm count of under 15 million per mm is considered low. It makes conceiving difficult.
- Low sperm motility.
- Abnormal sperm.
Other underlying medical conditions that may cause infertility in men include ejaculation disorders and hormonal imbalance.
What are infertility tests?
There are a variety of tests for infertility, including laboratory tests, imaging tests, and certain clinical procedures. Laboratory tests often involve testing samples of blood or semen.
Infertility tests for females
After a gynaecological examination, generally, women may be prescribed blood tests and imaging tests.
Other infertility tests that could also be prescribed include:
- Ovarian reserve testing: to detect how viable the eggs are after ovulation.
- Genetic testing: to check for any genetic abnormality that may be the root cause of infertility
- Pelvic ultrasound: to produce an image of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries
- Chlamydia test
Infertility tests for males
Some infertility tests for men are:
- Semen analysis
- Blood test
Importance of Blood tests in females to detect infertility
The human body naturally produces a whole range of hormones. Each hormone plays a different role in the complex system that regulates menstruation, ovulation, and the reproductive cycle, including pregnancy. Hormonal imbalance can affect this delicate balance. Blood work helps a physician assess these hormones. Usually, your doctor will ask for these reports before starting any fertility treatment to decide its course.
Infertility blood tests
Blood tests are a vital part of infertility testing and treatment. The doctor might schedule a few blood tests around the woman's menstrual cycle. The most basic fertility test for the woman often includes testing for ovarian function (FSH and estradiol) and a few other hormones (TSH and prolactin). These tests help as follows:
- FSH Testing: Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) checks a woman's egg supply and ovary function.
- Estradiol is used to measure your ovarian function and to evaluate the quality of eggs.
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Level: Performed at the beginning of your cycle to help diagnose hormonal imbalances
- Serum Prolactin: Determine why a woman is not ovulating.
- Serum Progesterone: Determine if ovulation is occurring.
If you are concerned about infertility, the best thing to do is make an appointment with an infertility specialist. Both partners need to get tested to address the problem. Your doctor will discuss and suggest the ones best for your situation. The tests will give your doctor and you some clarity about why you may be having trouble conceiving. A treatment plan can be charted accordingly, bringing you one step closer to experiencing the joy of parenthood.