What are infertility tests?
Infertility tests are done to help find out why a woman cannot become pregnant. The tests help find whether the problem is withthe man, the woman, or both. Tests usually include a physical examination, semen analysis, blood tests, and special procedures.
What tests are done first?
|Both partners: Medical history||Your doctor will ask questions about your sex life, your birth control methods, any sexually transmitted infections (STIs), medicine use, and the use of caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs. Your menstrual cycle and exercise patterns will be checked. If STIs are suspected, more tests may be done.|
|Both partners: Physical examination||A complete physical examination of both you and your partner is done to check your health.
|Both partners: Blood or urine tests||
|Male partner: Semen analysis||A semen analysis checks the number of sperm (sperm count), the number of sperm that look normal, the number of sperm that can move normally, the number of white blood cells in the semen, and how much semen is made.|
|Female partner: Home test||Home LH urine test kits can be used to see when ovulation occurs. Sometimes a woman’s basal body temperature (BBT) is also checked at the same time.
What if the first tests do not find a cause?
If the first tests do not find a cause for infertility, the woman may have one or more of the following tests.
|Pelvic ultrasound||A pelvic ultrasound looks at the size and structure of the uterus and both ovaries. It can check the condition and size of the ovaries during treatment for infertility. It can also be used to check a woman’s egg supply (ovarian reserve). This is done by counting the number of follicles in both ovaries during a certain phase of the menstrual cycle (antral follicle count).|
|Hysterosalpingogram||A hysterosalpingogram is an X-ray test that looks at the inside of the uterus and the fallopian tubes. The pictures can show a blockage of the fallopian tubes that would prevent an egg from reaching the uterus or prevent sperm from moving into a fallopian tube to join (fertilize) an egg. This test may also see problems on the inside of the uterus that might prevent a fertilized egg from attaching (implanting) to it.|
|Sonohysterogram||A sonohysterogram is an ultrasound test that uses saline and ultrasound to look at the female reproductive organs.
|Laparoscopy||Laparoscopy is a procedure to look at a woman’s pelvic organs (uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries) using a thin, lighted scope that is put through a small cut (incision) in the belly. This procedure is used to find cysts, scar tissue (adhesions), fibroids, and infections that can affect fertility. Laparoscopy can also be used to treat conditions, such asendometriosis. Laparoscopy is usually done with general anesthesia.|
What other tests may be done?
If a hysterosalpingogram, laparoscopy, or endometrial biopsy does not find a reason for your infertility, or if your infertility treatment has been unsuccessful, one or more of the following tests are sometimes used.
|Both partners: Antibody blood tests||Antibody blood tests may be done to find antisperm antibodies in blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. Doctors question the value of antibody tests for finding the cause of infertility.|
|Both partners: Karyotype (chromosome analysis) or genetic test||
|Male partner: Ultrasound||Ultrasound uses sound waves to make a picture of structures inside the body. It may be done to see whether a problem in the testicles is causing a problem with the sperm.
|Male partner: Testicular biopsy||In rare cases, when men have no sperm in their semen, a testicular biopsy may be done to check the sperm in the man’s testicles.|
|Female partner: Hysteroscopy||Hysteroscopy is a procedure that looks at the lining of the uterus using a thin, lighted scope that is put through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. Hysteroscopy is used to find problems in the uterine lining. Sometimes your doctor can use small tools during the procedure to take out growths or take samples of tissue (biopsy) or open a blocked fallopian tube.|