Diagnosing female infertility can often start at home. The most fundamental test is known as fertility charting, and it involves recording the basal body temperature (BBT) using any of a number of over-the-counter basalthermometers. It is recommended the woman test through three cycles before drawing any inferences about the test results.
Ovulation prediction kits (OPK), also available over-the-counter, measure hormone levels in an attempt to determine ovulation, and require only one cycle.
Following these tests, it might be time to see an infertility specialist, known as a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). Ideally, an RE is the best health professional to see, since the treatment of infertility is their specialty. Depending on your medical history and the discretion of the doctor, a wide range of potential tests may follow, including (but not limited to):
- Endometrial Biopsy
- checks ovulation and examines the lining of the uterus
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)
- checks fallopian tubes and the uterus. The procedure takes less than a half hour but involves a speculum, a catheter, a dye injected into the uterus through the cervix and X-rays;
- Standard pelvic exam
- should include hormone testing via evaluation of ovarian reserves (measuring follicle numbers and egg quality)
- Thyroid test
- Checks for hormone levels and proper thyroid function
- Cervical tissue samples
- Checks for premature ovarian failure and luteal phase defect
- a Clomiphene Challenge Test
- Uses the fertility drug Clomid to check ovarian reserves
- Ovulation confirmation
- Measures progesterone levels in the second half of the cycle
A woman is advised to ask her fertility specialist for an explanation of these tests as well as what other tests may be available to her.