A couple talking to a medical professional with a clipboard about infertility testing.

Trouble conceiving? Get tested for infertility

If you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for a while and it’s just not happening, it might be time to think about infertility testing.

Infertility testing: Things to consider

Infertility can affect both men and women, so both you and your partner will be tested. Infertility testing can let you know the source of your conception difficulties, and can help you learn how to fix them.

What makes a couple infertile?

There are lots of causes of infertility, and men and women can both be affected by it. Female infertility in younger women is usually due to a problem ovulating, whether there is a blockage, or a hormone deficiency that is not allowing an egg to be released. Male infertility is often due to a problem with the sperm, whether a low quantity or issues with movement. However, there are a number of different reasons a couple may be infertile.

When should a couple get tested?

Experts generally recommend that women who have been trying to conceive unsuccessfully for over a year (or 6 months for women over 35 ) should seek a medical consultation to help figure out what’s going on. At this time, your doctor may suggest that you and your partner be tested for infertility. Not all couples who are struggling to conceive get tested, but it could certainly help you and your partner make decisions along the way.

What’s the procedure?

If you and your partner get tested for infertility, you’ll both be interviewed about your medical histories, undergo a physical exam, and have your blood screened. Your partner may be asked to give a semen sample, which will be analyzed for sperm count, shape, and motility (how well they move). If no inhibiting condition is identified after these tests, doctors may have you undergo a pelvic ultrasound or a laparoscopy (a surgical procedure in which doctors get a look at your fallopian tubes, ovaries, and womb with a little flashlight), both of which could more conclusively let you know if something is not right with your fertility and determine how to correct it.

Plenty of women are able to conceive even after being diagnosed with infertility, so it’s important not to give up hope. Reproductive medicine and surgical techniques are progressing each day, and the success rate of assisted reproduction methods is on the rise. Even if there is a problem with your ovulation or your partner’s sperm count, chances are that with patience, diligence, and hard work, you’ll be able to conceive successfully.

Read more
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Infertility – Definition.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 7/2/2014. Web.
  • “Diagnosing Male Infertility.” Society for the Study of Male Reproduction. Society for the Study of Male Reproduction, n.d. Web.
  • “Patient Fact Sheet: Diagnostic Testing for Female Infertility.” ASRM. American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 2012. Web.

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