Detecting infertility


Do you suspect that you or your partner might be infertile? To find out if you are, you’ll need to speak openly with your doctor.

For both men and women

A doctor will go over your health history, medications, sexual history, and your sex habits. Your doctor will be interested to know how frequently you are having sex and when during the woman’s cycle you are having sex.

For women

Testing usually begins with a physical and a pelvic exam. Doctors first check to the regularity of the cycle and whether or not ovulation is occurring. Blood tests will detect hormones. An ultrasound examination will show the health of the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. An ovulation home test kit could be recommended to check hormone levels as well. "An irregular menstrual pattern would make us suspicious of an ovulation problem, but it's also possible for a woman with regular periods to have an ovulation disorder," said Robert G. Brzyski, MD, PhD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

For men

After physical and sexual history is taken, men may undergo a semen analysis that evaluates sperm count and sperm movement. "We look at the percent that are moving and how they are moving--are the sperm sluggish? Are they wandering?" explained Dr. Brzyski. "Often, it's not possible to identify a specific reason for a sperm disorder," he says. "But there is new recognition that very low sperm or no sperm may be related to genetics--an abnormality of the Y chromosome."

Because the tests for women are simpler and less expensive, usually female infertility is explored before looking at the man.

Common reasons for infertility

In about 80% of couples, the cause of infertility is identified as an ovulation problem, blockage of the fallopian tubes, or a sperm problem. In 5%-15% of couples, all tests are normal, and the cause cannot be determined.

Source: WebMD


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