An initial evaluation of infertility include conducting exams and tests, to try to find the reason you and your partner have not become pregnant. If a cause is found, treatment may be possible. If you are unsure if you should schedule an initial evaluation of infertility, here are a few factors you should consider:
- You have not become pregnant after 1 year of having regular sexual intercourse without the use of birth control.
- You are older than age 35 years and have not become pregnant after trying for 6 months without using birth control.
- You are older than age 40 years and have not become pregnant within 6 months of trying without using birth control.
- Your menstrual cycle is not regular.
- You or your partner have a known fertility problem.
What Type Of Doctor Does An Infertility Evaluation?
You can come and see a provider in our office for your first assessment. You also can choose to see a specialist. Reproductive endocrinologists are gynecologists with special training in evaluating and treating infertility. Men with infertility concerns are evaluated and treated by a urologist. Some urologists have special training in male infertility.
What Causes Infertility?
The most common cause of female infertility is lack of or irregular ovulation. The most common causes of male infertility are problems in the testes that affect how sperm are made or how they function.
Scar tissue or blockage of the fallopian tubes may be a leading cause of infertility. Problems with the thyroid gland or pituitary gland also may contribute to infertility. In men, blockage of the tubes that carry sperm from the testes may be a cause of infertility.
How Does Age Affect Fertility?
For healthy couples in their 20s or early 30s, the chance that a woman will become pregnant is about 25–30% in any single menstrual cycle. This percentage decreases rapidly after age 37 years. By age 40 years, a woman’s chance of getting pregnant drops to less than 10% per menstrual cycle. A man’s fertility also declines with age.
Can Lifestyle Affect Fertility?
In women, being underweight, being overweight, or exercising too much may be associated with infertility. In both men and women, drinking alcohol at moderate or heavy levels may be a factor in infertility. In men, smoking cigarettes and marijuana can reduce sperm count and movement.
What Should I Expect During My First Visit For Infertility?
The first visit usually involves a detailed medical history and a physical exam. You will be asked questions about your menstrual period, abnormal bleeding or discharge from the vagina, pelvic pain, and disorders that can affect reproduction such as thyroid disease. You and your partner will be asked about specific health issues and you will be expected to provide a detailed sexual history.
What Tests Are Done To Test For Infertility?
Tests for infertility include laboratory tests, imaging tests, and certain procedures. Imaging tests and procedures look at the reproductive organs and how they work. Laboratory tests often involve testing samples of blood or semen.
What Does The Basic Testing For A Woman Include?
Laboratory tests may include a progesterone test, thyroid function tests, a prolactin level test, and tests of ovarian reserve. Imaging tests and procedures may include an ultrasound exam, hysterosalpingography, sonohysterography, hysteroscopy and laparoscopy. You may not have all of these tests and procedures. Some are done based on the results of previous tests and procedures. We typically start with basic lab tests and a semen analysis.
Does Insurance Cover The Cost Of An Infertility Work-Up?
Some insurance companies may cover the cost of an infertility evaluation. It is a good idea to call your insurance company to find out before you start your evaluation.