Public Health

Fertility Tests You Can Request From Your Doctor

A couple talks to their doctor about fertility.

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Becoming a parent is a wondrous event and a lifelong commitment. For many couples, the process can come with some additional challenges, like fertility issues that may lead to you having trouble conceiving a baby. We understand your discouragement if you are affected by infertility and want to offer hope that there is help.

Have you wondered if you and your partner should consider fertility testing? If you’ve actively been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, or more than six months if you’re 35 or older, there are female and male fertility tests your doctor can perform to rule out the possibility of infertility — or support your journey to help you conceive as you determine next steps.

We’re here to walk you through the basics of fertility testing, starting with some helpful information on infertility and the tests available for both women and men.

What Is Infertility?

According to the CDC, infertility means not being able to get pregnant after one year or longer of trying to conceive a baby. Because fertility is known to steadily decline with age, some providers evaluate and treat people ages 35 and older after six months of not being able to get pregnant.

Pregnancy has many steps that must work perfectly for it to happen. To get pregnant:

  • An egg must be released from one of the ovaries
  • A sperm must join with the egg
  • The fertilized egg must go through a fallopian tube toward the uterus
  • The embryo must attach to the inside of the uterus

Infertility can arise from a problem with one or more of these steps. Impaired fecundity is a condition related to infertility and refers to difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.

Contrary to popular belief, infertility is not confined to women. Both genders can be infertile from a variety of causes.

What Is Fertility Testing?

Fertility testing typically begins with talking with your provider about your medical history and getting a physical exam. It can take several months for your doctor to figure out what’s causing infertility, so stay hopeful as you wait for an answer.

Fertility Tests for Women

After your initial consultation, your provider will recommend a variety of fertility tests, likely to include:

Antral Follicle Count (AFC)

A transvaginal ultrasound is probably one of the first tests your doctor will perform. This captures an image of your follicles and ovaries to test what is called your ovarian reserve.

The number of follicles growing on the surface of your ovaries can indicate how many eggs would likely be retrieved if the ovaries were stimulated during a fertility treatment, like in vitro fertilization (IVF).

AMH Levels

Your doctor can run another test to determine your ovarian reserves called the AMH test.

A blood test will measure levels of the anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) in your body. A higher AMH generally means the ovaries have a larger reserve of eggs. Again, this can be helping your doctor determine if you’re a good candidate for a fertility treatment.

FSH Levels

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates the follicles on your ovaries to produce an egg.

As ovarian function slows down with age or because of other health issues, more FSH needs to be released. An elevated FSH level may indicate that a woman’s ovaries are no longer producing eggs.

Other Hormonal Fertility Tests

A woman’s ability to conceive is determined largely by the hormonal balance in her body. If hormones are not secreted in the right proportions, the reproductive process can be impacted. Your doctor might suggest additional tests.

Fertility Tests for Men

Fertility issues can be just as common in men. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a third of all fertility challenges occur because of fertility issues in men.

For this reason, a semen analysis is usually the first step in assessing a man’s fertility. You can typically gather the sample in the clinic or at home.

With the sample, your provider will analyze your sperm’s:

  • Count
  • Motility (what percentage are moving correctly)
  • Morphology (what percentage are normally shaped)

They might also suggest additional testing, depending on your personal health history and circumstances.

Hope for Wholeness

Hope springs eternal at AdventHealth, where your expert team will walk you and your partner through the testing treatment process with compassion and sensitivity to your needs and feelings.

Learn more about how we can help you plan your family’s future. You deserve to feel whole.

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