When a couple is unable to conceive a child after about a year of trying, both partners should seek a medical screening for infertility by a reproductive endocrinologist certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. These OB/GYNs have specialized training in infertility causes and treatments.
The doctor will analyze a number of factors:
- the mother’s ovulation for any abnormalities
- the health of the father’s sperm
- the ability of the sperm and egg to merge and grow properly
- anything that may impede the embryo developing normally
- both the woman’s and the man’s physical histories
Tests for Infertility
Since problems with the man’s reproductive health cause or contribute to half of infertility cases, both partners must be examined.
Tests for Female Infertility
- a physical including a pelvic exam, a PAP smear and tests for infections
- evaluate ovulation comparing body temperatures and menstrual cycles
- blood tests for hormonal activity
- ultrasound to check for abnormalities such as ovarian cysts and the presence of developing eggs
- hysterosalpingogram, a type of X-ray that uses a special dye injected into the cervix to create an image of the uterus and fallopian tubes
Tests for Male Infertility
- semen analysis to check sperm count, health, shape, quantity and quality of fluid
- male hormone tests
- determine if the sperm is able to penetrate the egg
In some cases, an examination by a urologist may be recommended.
Given the many possible causes of the condition, proper screening for infertility by a qualified OB/GYN is critical to guide the strategy for a successful treatment.