While some couples conceive with ease, conceiving a child can be extremely difficult for others. In cases where a woman is not able to get pregnant despite having regular intercourse in tune with her biological cycle, infertility tests may be suggested to investigate the reason behind this. In most cases, these tests are suggested if a year has gone by without intercourse resulting in a pregnancy. Women may also be said to be infertile, if they cannot carry a foetus to full term.
Infertility can affect both men and women and can be triggered by a number of different reasons. In some cases, it is treatable while in others, alternative ways of having a family may need to be discussed. Hence, it is very important to understand the different types and triggers for infertility and to undergo complete infertility investigations. Some of the common types of infertility investigations are as given below.
- Blood tests: A blood test of both partners is used to assess the general health of the couple and to identify any health factors that may be impeding fertility.
- Tests for women:
- Hysterosalpingogram: This is an X ray that can identify if a blockage or any other issue in the fallopian tubes are the cause for infertility.
- Pelvic ultrasound: This is used to have a look at the anatomy of the female reproductive system and to check for fibroids.
- Laparoscopy / hysteroscopy: This is used to get a clearer picture of the ovaries, uterus and other parts of the reproductive system.
- Tracking cycle: Ovulation and the thickness of the uterus lining may also affect infertility, This can be diagnosed by tracking and assessing the menstrual cycle.
- Tests for men
- Semen analysis:This test is used to get an idea of sperm concentration, motility and the appearance of sperm in a man’s semen. In some cases, the semen may not include any sperm cells. In such cases, a follow up investigation may be required to assess if sperm cells are being created in the testicles. This is known as testicular sperm aspiration or a testicular biopsy.
- Sperm DNA: The DNA in sperm also plays an important role in fertility. This test is used to assess the sperm DNA integrity and to see how it may affect embryo development and chances of an on-going pregnancy.
Infertility treatment depends on the cause identified by the above tests and hence it is important for both partners to undergo complete testing.