INITIal infertility testing
Infertility testing is where most of our clients begin their fertility journey. Infertility can be caused by many different factors, unique to each prospective parent. As a result, initial infertility testing is key to diagnosing the underlying conditions preventing conception. Once the specific causes of infertility have been identified, we can create a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.
Dr. Dan offers a range of infertility testing services that cover many possible causes of infertility. These include tests for male factor infertility, which is the cause of almost half of all fertility challenges. These tests are minimally invasive, can be easily accomplished within our office, and many of them can be completed through simple bloodwork or a semen sample.
WHY BOTHER WITH INFERTILITY TESTING?
Infertility testing can seem daunting, but it is extremely helpful in narrowing down causes of infertility. Each infertility journey is unique, and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. We prioritize your comfort and convenience by tailoring a specific testing plan to your needs. By completing the various tests, Dr. Dan can determine a specific infertility diagnosis for each couple and create the most effective treatment plan for their family dreams.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE TESTING
While you’re getting bloodwork for your hormone levels, we can also perform the infectious disease testing required by the State of California. If you’d prefer, you are also welcome to have this testing performed by your primary care physician.
Early in your menstrual cycle (usually between days 2-4), Dr. Dan can test for levels of two specific hormones: Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Estradiol (E2). During ovulation, your body releases FSH and E2 to regulate the hormonal cycle and help the egg mature. Testing for these hormones through simple bloodwork provides valuable information on the health of your ovaries and ovarian reserve (the number and quality of eggs remaining in the ovaries). This is often one of the first tests on the way to receiving an accurate infertility diagnosis.
For male partners, we’ll conduct a semen analysis to evaluate potential male factor infertility. More sperm with more movement increases the chances of fertilization. Using a simple semen sample, we evaluate four key qualities of the semen and sperm:
1) Volume (the amount of semen in the sample)
2) Count (the number of spermatozoa)
3) Motility (percentage of moving sperm) and
4) Morphology (healthy shape)
These are the most common indicators of male factor infertility.
After receiving the information from the levels of FSH and E2 and the semen analysis, there are two more tests that help visualize the uterus and fallopian tubes to discover potential causes of infertility. The first is called a sonohysterogram. A sonohysterogram is an ultrasound procedure for the uterus. Because the uterus is the main location for a fertilized egg to implant and grow into a beautiful baby, there are many conditions that need to be just right to promote fertility. By inserting a small amount of saline water into the uterus and using a specific ultrasound tool, Dr. Dan can examine the uterine cavity and its lining for a number of potential abnormalities that might be affecting fertility. These include scarring from endometriosis and growths like fibroids or polyps. This simple test can be performed at our office with minimal discomfort, and usually takes about thirty minutes.
In addition to the sonohysterogram, a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) helps to visualize the fallopian tubes and make sure they are open and functioning normally. During an HSG, we place a special contrast dye into the uterus. Then a specialized x-ray is taken that allows us to watch the dye travel through the uterus to the fallopian tubes. If there are any blockages present in the fallopian tubes, for example from scarring, growths, or lesions, then the dye will pool in that area and identify the issue. In some cases, studies have shown that the dye may actually dislodge the blockages, increasing chances of pregnancy. As irregularities in the fallopian tubes cause about 20% of all infertility cases, the HSG is a very valuable tool for determining an infertility diagnosis early in the process. The HSG can be performed in an outpatient radiology suite in around half an hour.