To try and determine the cause of infertility, fertility specialists will carry out different tests depending on the reproductive organs they’re testing. For example, some fertility tests check to make sure that sperm are healthy and can travel successfully through the vagina to the egg, while others determine if there are any problems with egg quality, blockages in the fallopian tubes and uterus, or conditions that might be interrupting ovulation.
One or more of the following tests might be done to check a woman’s fertility.
This is a type of x-ray test. The doctor inserts dye into the cervix, takes an x-ray, and observes the location of the dye to check for any blockages in the uterus and fallopian tubes.
For this test, the doctor uses an ultrasound probe to check inside the vagina for fibroids or ovarian cysts. Ultrasounds work by emitting sound waves that form a detailed picture. If the doctor does find fibroids or cysts, depending on their size and location, they might have to be removed for conception to be possible.
The doctor fills the uterus with a sterile salt solution, then uses an ultrasound probe to check inside the uterus for any abnormal growths, scarring, or shape. If the doctor sees an abnormality, they will usually follow up with a hysteroscopy.
For this procedure, the doctor inserts a lighted instrument called a hysteroscope into the cervix. At the end of the hysteroscope is a small camera. This allows the doctor to look inside the uterus to check for polyps, fibroids, and adhesions.
A laparoscopy requires a laparoscope, which is similar to the hysteroscope in that it’s lighted and has a small camera at the end. The doctor inserts the laparoscope through the abdominal wall and into the pelvic cavity. This lets them look for endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, or any other abnormalities outside of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and general internal pelvic area. It’s riskier and a little more expensive, so it’s usually not used unless a woman has a certain medical history or previous surgeries.
Ovarian reserve testing
Ovarian reserve testing requires a blood test early in the menstrual cycle to measure levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This test lets the doctor check the quality of the eggs, as well as how receptive the ovaries are to fertility hormones. Ovarian reserve testing is best for women who are older than 35 or who have certain health factors that reduce egg quality.
An infertility diagnosis might seem scary, but it’s the first step towards treatment. A fertility specialist is qualified to diagnose infertility and perform the different procedures listed above.
Help is available
The journey to parenthood isn’t always easy. The University of Colorado partners with WINFertility to offer a Fertility Support Program that can help those who are struggling to conceive understand their fertility treatment options, and choose the best course of treatment.
WIN provides 24/7 access to Nurse Care Managers who can help answer your urgent questions and educate you about your care to help you come up with the best plan for you and your family. Working together with your health plan network of doctors and pharmacies, WIN provides you with total support and coordination of care.
To learn more about your Fertility Support Program or to get started today, you can speak with a WIN Service Team Member by calling (866) 329-1224.
You can download the WINFertility Companion mobile app, available on the App Store and Google Play, to take advantage of your benefits on the go.