Health 101: Infertility in Women

How will my doctor test for infertility?

Because there are many potential causes of infertility in women and men, a number of tests may be needed to figure out what's going on, and the process may take many months. Here's a brief overview of the types of tests or procedures you may experience:

  • Checking for ovulation: The first thing your doctor will look for is whether you're ovulating normally. You can start this process at home by using an ovulation predictor kit or measuring your basal body temperature every morning, but the only true way to know you're ovulating is through a combination of blood tests (to check for hormone levels) and an ultrasound of your ovaries (this allows your doctor to see whether or not an egg's been released).
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): An x-ray that looks at the uterus and fallopian tubes; it can reveal problems like fibroids or polyps in the uterus, which can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall, or fallopian tube blockage, which can impact ovulation or fertilization.
  • Laparoscopy: An outpatient surgery done under general anesthesia; your doctor uses a small tool to examine the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus for endometriosis or pelvic scarring. Sometimes, your doctor may be able to remove cysts from your ovaries or scar tissue during this procedure.
  • Hysteroscopy: An outpatient procedure done under general anesthesia; your doctor uses tools to examine the uterus and to possibly remove fibroids, polyps, or scar tissue.
  • Ovarian reserve testing: A series of tests that measure the number and health of your eggs; it helps your doctor determine whether you're a good candidate for fertility medications or assisted technology like IVF.


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