One of the best news what a couple can have is to expect the arrival of a baby. With changing lifestyles, most people have chosen to have a baby much later in life, with education and career taking priority. However, when the couple is ready and it does not happen, there can be a lot of anxiety and stress.
It is normal for couples to take about 4 to 6 months to conceive, and there are various factors which can affect this. It is important to consider that the issue could be with either partner and so both need to be involved in testing to find out the underlying reasons.
When you have decided to check with a doctor, the following will be considered.
- The health conditions of both parents including lifestyle (tobacco, alcohol, diet patterns, weight, etc.)
- Medical history including medications
- Any history of infertility that runs in the family
- Sexual history including sexual health, STDs, painful sex
- Gynecologic history of female including any menstrual disorders or pelvic diseases like endometriosis
- Any issues with the male partner including erection or ejaculation
- Reproductive history including prior children, prior pregnancies, miscarriages
Some of the most common tests that would be done are listed below, separately for women and men.
Women: A physical exam will also include checking the pelvic area for any obvious signs of fibroids, cysts, PID, or endometriosis. This is followed by one or more of the following tests as required for the diagnosis of the underlying cause.
- A cervical smear test to test the vaginal and cervical environment
- Blood test to test for rubella infection, varicella or chickenpox
- Blood test to check for ovulation. This is done 7 days before the period and evaluates both whether ovulation is happening and other correlated factors like temperature, cervical mucus, quality of the egg
- Blood test to check for hormonal levels including FSH, prolactin, thyroid hormone, testosterone, and progesterone. Each of these plays a vital role in the entire pregnancy cycle, and so should be evaluated
- Urine test for chlamydia, which can cause infertility
- Scanning to check for the internal structures like fallopian tubes, uterine lining, and cervix.
- The first step is to understand if there is a sexual problem including erection and/or ejaculation
- A physical exam is done to look for swellings in the scrotum
- Blood test to check for hormonal levels, especially testosterone.
- Sperm analysis including quantity, quality, and motility of sperms. This is one of the easiest tests to do and should be done even before more elaborate tests are done in the female.
Involving both the partners is very important to solve this problem. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.