“For those who are struggling to conceive, finding answers to why you haven’t been able to conceive is the first step. These answers can be found through a series of 4 fertility tests also known as prescreening or the diagnostic work-up. A fertility specialist will be able to perform these tests immediately and provide you answers within 1 month,” comments Dr. Mark Perloe, a reproductive endocrinologist at Shady Grove Fertility Atlanta.
When should you consider fertility testing?
There are guidelines based on age and length of time trying to conceive that provide recommendations for when to seek help from a fertility specialist. The bottom line, the early you seek help the more likely you are to get pregnant. It’s important to note, in addition to your age and how long you’ve been having unprotected intercourse, there are also warning signs that indicate the need to see a fertility specialist sooner than the recommended guidelines, which include:
- A known fertility issue such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, or male factor infertility
- A couple who previously had a child or children without fertility treatment but are having trouble conceiving again
- Recurrent pregnant loss
- Early menopause or family history of early menopause
- Irregular periods, severely painful periods, or no periods at all
- History of pelvic surgery, such as the removal of an ovarian cyst, ablation of endometriosis, ectopic or tubal pregnancy, or ruptured appendix
- When basic treatment, with medications such as clomiphene citrate (Clomid, Serophene) has not resulted in pregnancy after 6 months
What does fertility testing show me?
“At your first appointment, we will review lifestyle factors and your medical history. From there we will outline a diagnostic plan tailored specifically for you, which will help determine the cause of your infertility,” says Perloe.
The testing for women is bloodwork, ultrasound, and an HSG. For men, it’s a semen analysis. These tests are intended to answer the following questions:
- Are you ovulating?
- Bloodwork– Drawn on the third day of the menstrual cycle, bloodwork is designed to gain insight into a woman’s egg quality, quantity, and hormonal levels.
- Are your Fallopian tubes normal?
- HSG– The hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an X-ray dye test that fills the uterus and Fallopian tubes to identify blockages or abnormalities in the uterus.
- Is your uterus receptive to implantation?
- Ultrasound – The ultrasound helps a physician evaluate the uterine muscle. This scan of the uterus can reveal fibroids or other factors that may keep a woman from conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term.
- Are the sperm normal in number and function?
- Semen Analysis – Identifies a male’s fertility potential. The analysis has four main components that it looks at in the sperm: volume, concentration, motility (movement), and morphology (shape).
Where can I get fertility testing?
“Fertility testing can be done at your OB/GYN, however, having your fertility testing done with a fertility specialist is more advantageous as it allows us to test both partners simultaneously. The testing performed at a fertility center is often more specialized and comprehensive, giving you more detailed answers within a shorter period of time,” adds Perloe.
When should I schedule an appointment?
“Don’t wait! Early intervention leads to more pregnancies. The sooner we determine a diagnosis of your infertility, the sooner we can help you get on the road to parenthood. It is important to also be aware of early warning signs that may signal it’s time to see a fertility specialist sooner than the recommended timeframe,” adds Perloe.
If you are having trouble conceiving and would like to schedule an appointment with one of Shady Grove Fertility Atlanta’s three physicians, Drs. Mark Perloe, McCarthy-Keith, or Namnoum, please call 404-843-2229 or complete this brief online form.