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Female Infertility - Diagnosis

Overview | Causes | Diagnosis | Treatment | FAQ

Female fertility requires the ovaries to release healthy eggs regularly. Additionally, the eggs and sperm must be allowed to pass into her fallopian tubes to become fertilized by a sperm. Fit and functional reproductive organs are critical to fertility.

Your doctor will ask questions related to your health history, menstrual cycle and sexual habits. A general physical as well as regular gynecological examination will be conducted.

Specific fertility tests may include:

  • Ovulation testing. In order to determine whether you are ovulating or not, a blood test is sometimes performed to measure hormone levels.

  • Hysterosalpingography. This is a test to determine the condition of your uterus and fallopian tubes. Your uterus is injected with fluid and an X-ray is taken to conclude whether the fluid advances out of the uterus and into your fallopian tubes. Obstruction or complications may be located and surgery could correct.

  • Laparoscopy. General anesthesia is administered, this procedure requires inserting a thin screening device into your abdomen and pelvis in an effort to examine your fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus condition. A minor incision (8 to 10 millimeters) is made below your navel, and a needle is put into your abdominal cavity. The laparoscope — an illuminated, fiber-optic telescope is inserted into the abdomen, a small amount of gas (usually carbon dioxide) is used to create space for the instrument. Endometriosis and scarring are the most frequent problems identified by laparoscopy. An obstruction or abnormality of the fallopian tubes or uterus may also be detected during this procedure. Laparoscopy is generally an outpatient method.

  • Hormone testing. Levels of ovulatory hormones as well as thyroid and pituitary hormones may be checked.

  • Ovarian reserve testing. Probable effectiveness of the eggs after ovulation is evaluated by this test. This line of attack often involves hormone testing early in a woman's menstrual cycle.

  • Genetic testing. A test to determine if there's a genetic defect causing infertility.

  • Pelvic ultrasound. This procedure looks for uterine or fallopian tube disease.

The cause of infertility is typically found before all of these tests are conducted. The tests used and sequence is dependent upon the partnership between you and your doctor.

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