It helps to know your numbers – The importance of fertility testing
By the time patients visit our Virginia fertility center, chances are good they’ve heard a lot of advice about achieving pregnancy success. However, they might not understand the importance of fertility testing. Well-meaning friends and relatives may suggest that a couple just needs to relax and let nature take its course. They may also tempt the couple with fertility-boosting foods. With all due respect to your coworker Karen and her fertility shake recipe, all the advice in the world can’t beat the real answers from fertility testing results.
Our patients come to recognize the importance of fertility testing when they learn that infertility is due to hormonal imbalances, poor sperm quality and physical obstructions. Fertility tests allow individuals and couples to work with doctors to develop effective treatment strategies.
Getting to know your numbers
The first step of any of our Virginia fertility center services is testing. We want to make sure our patients have the best chance of fertility success. For men and women, this can include a health history, blood testing and exam. For men, it may also include a semen analysis. Here are some of the numbers we are looking for.
- Female hormone levels. Luteinizing hormone (LH), progesterone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels can all be indicators of whether a woman is ovulating. Testing anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) can determine the number of eggs a woman has in her ovaries.
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG). This test is done to check whether the fallopian tubes are patent and normal. Tubal factor is a common cause of infertility.
- Sonohysterogram and/or office hysteroscopy. These tests check whether the uterine cavity contains any anomalies, such as polyps, fibroids or scar tissue.
- Physical examination and cervical cultures. These check for any abnormalities found at the time of a thorough physical examination. The cervical cultures look for any bacteria that could influence the chances at conceiving.
- Semen analysis. Our andrologists can analyze a semen sample to determine how many sperm a man is producing (sperm count) and how well that sperm can move (motility and morphology).
- Male hormone levels. Where sperm quantity or quality is low, a blood panel that analyzes LH, testosterone, FSH and prolactin can help identify an underlying hormonal imbalance.
The importance of fertility testing is its role in developing a treatment plan that is customized to our patients’ areas of concern. We offer a wide range of treatments to address the most common causes of infertility.
The importance of fertility testing to help find real answers
If you’ve been struggling to get pregnant for a year (six months if you’re a woman 35 or over), Fady Sharara MD at our Virginia fertility center can get rid of the guesswork and help you find real answers. If it’s time to get to know your numbers, don’t hesitate to contact our office.