We’re not getting pregnant. How can we test for infertility?
By Causenta Wellness
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant naturally without birth control for more than a year (or for six months if you’re over 35), it is time to find out if you are experiencing infertility.
In order to address the medical and health issues that might be affecting your fertility, you can undergo a series of tests. Both the man and woman in the couple should undergo testing because both parties play a role in getting pregnant and sustaining a healthy pregnancy.
Once you know the results of these tests, you can work with the correct professionals to have a greater chance of a successful pregnancy.
Couples often feel emotional stress and financial pressure when they are having trouble getting pregnant. Infertility is one of those things that people don’t like to talk about. “We’ve helped a lot of famous women have babies – actresses that you’d recognize,” says Dr. Tom Incledon, Founder & CEO of Causenta. “But they don’t become advocates for the cause like you see with cancer and other health issues.”
One thing that Incledon has noticed over the years of treating couples who are struggling with infertility is that “when a woman is trying to get pregnant and she is having difficulty, she feels like her womanhood has been challenged and she tends to become private about it.”
This propensity to not share information limits a lot of people’s understanding about infertility and the options available to them. “If we talked about things more openly, we could help more people and be a community around infertility,” says Incledon. “Our goal at Causenta is to help people dealing with infertility efficiently and effectively.”
Causenta has helped thousands of couples overcome infertility and have the family they’ve dreamed about. Our expert team has assisted people in their 30s and 40s, as well as in their 50s. “You can have a successful pregnancy after 50,” says Inceldon. “I’m not promoting it or saying you should, but age shouldn’t make you afraid or get you stressed before you even start trying to get pregnant.”
Infertility tests for women
In order for a woman to get pregnant, a healthy egg must be released from the ovaries and be able to travel through the fallopian tube to be fertilized and then into the uterus. If any of these normal processes are slowed or blocked, it can result in infertility. There are common infertility tests than can help with diagnosing the problem.
- Hormone testing: This can be done via blood draw to evaluate pituitary and other hormone levels that control reproductive processes.
- Hysterosalpingography: This in-depth X-ray test evaluates the fitness of your uterus and fallopian tubes. This fertility test looks for blockages or other problems with these reproductive organs.
- Imaging testing: Ultrasounds can be used to look for concerns in the uterus and ovaries, including signs of disease.
- Ovarian reserve testing: Knowing the quantity of the eggs available for ovulation is important to determining the next steps of a patient’s fertility journey. This infertility test is often performed with hormone testing early in the process.
- Ovulation testing: A simple blood test can measure hormone levels to determine whether ovulation is occurring on a regular basis or at all.
Infertility tests for men
There is something to the old saying “protect the family jewels.” Male fertility requires healthy sperm to be ejaculated into the vagina so that they can travel to the egg. If a man is not producing enough sperm or they are not healthy, he can experience infertility. While undergoing fertility tests can be awkward or undesirable for many men, Incledon says “If guys don’t put effort in, it won’t work. If you have sperm issues, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you as a man.”
“Guys that cycle a lot, goalies, catchers in baseball can often experience infertility,” says Incledon. “When there’s heat trapped around the testes or repeated injury to the testicles, it can affect sperm production.”
There are common infertility tests that can help determine the root of the issue:
- Genetic testing: For some men, genetic abnormalities can affect sperm production and quality. The most common condition is Klinefelter’s syndrome, which is characterized by increased height and small testes. For many, the features are so mild that the condition is not diagnosed until later in life with up to 75 percent of affected men never being diagnosed.
- Hormone testing: A simple blood test can be used to determine the level of testosterone and other male hormones needed to produce sperm.
- Imaging testing: MRIs, transrectal or scrotal ultrasounds, or a vasography (test of the vas deferens) will be conducted to understand if there are any physical concerns or blockages preventing the sperm from being producing or exiting the body.
- Semen testing: For men undergoing fertility testing, providing one or more semen specimens is common. Generally, the semen is obtained by masturbating or by interrupting intercourse and ejaculating your semen into a clean container. The semen specimen is then sent to a lab for analysis. Alternatively, urine may be tested for the presence of sperm or a semen specimen may be evaluated for DNA abnormalities.
- Testicular biopsy: For some men, a testicular biopsy may be necessary. This fertility test can identify abnormalities that contribute to infertility or it can be performed to retrieve sperm for assisted reproductive techniques, such as intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization.
One thing Incledon cautions couples experiencing infertility with is that these common tests often only show part of the picture. “Fertility is a sign of overall health,” he says. “So, you may undergo these tests and the doctor will come back with no answers. The issue with that is that they didn’t take into account your overall health. Don’t chase treatments; learn about your body. How do you know what you need, if you don’t know about your body?”
A common scenario is that when couples come into Causenta to address their infertility issues, the male will say, “I’m fine,” without any blood tests or simple analysis of sperm. So, they didn’t know about their bodyies.
“With infertility, both people should do something to be healthier,” says Incledon. “Don’t blame the person that you want to start a family with. Do this journey together.”
Fertility treatment at Causenta begins with understanding the overall health of each person and then working together to create customized treatment plans that will address hormone levels, diet, and exercise. “We may need a few cycles of testing to be sure the treatments are successful,” says Incledon. “But, as we go, treatments get less expensive and more meaningful for overall health, including the ability to get pregnant.”
If you want to learn more about how the experts at Causenta can help you with infertility tests and treatment, contact us to schedule a consultation today. We look forward to helping you achieve the dream of starting a family.