Facts about fertility testing for women
- Women who experience difficulty conceiving or carrying a pregnancy should undergo female fertility testing to check for root causes of infertility.
- Fertility tests for women can be started by an OB-GYN, but evidence shows time-to-pregnancy is shortest with a fertility specialist.
- Female fertility testing begins with a discussion of medical and sexual history, followed by a physical exam.
- Female fertility tests include blood tests, transvaginal sonograms, X-rays, and possibly intrauterine evaluations performed with a small camera.
- Because female infertility is the sole cause only in approximately one-third of cases, a woman’s partner should also have fertility testing to get a complete picture of the reproductive situation.
- Results of all fertility testing form the baseline from which a fertility doctor can determine the best treatment strategy tailored to the patient.
What is female fertility testing?
There are numerous causes for infertility in women, and only by testing to pinpoint the cause can a physician initiate the proper treatment plan. Some of the most common causes of infertility in women are abnormalities with ovulation, issues with anatomy or hormonal imbalance, and increased age. Peak female fertility starts in a woman’s 20s then begins a major decline around her mid-30s, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Diagnosing infertility in women
Healthy adults in their 20s and early 30s have a 25%-30% chance of conceiving during a single menstrual cycle. With age that negatively affects a woman’s reproductive system, other health issues, and lifestyle extremes (alcoholism, smoking or obesity) come increased chances for infertility.
The best way to understand why there may be difficulty conceiving is for a fertility specialist to conduct fertility tests that evaluate potential body chemistry and reproductive organ malfunctions. From the results, the physician can determine a course of treatments and procedures to improve chances for conception and a stable pregnancy.
Who should consider female fertility testing?
Those who should consider fertility testing include women who:
- Are under the age of 35 and have not become pregnant after unprotected sexual intercourse for more than one year.
- Are age 35 or older and have not become pregnant after six months of trying.
- Are overweight or underweight (have too much or not enough body mass).
- Experience irregular (infrequent or longer than usual) or painful menstrual cycles.
- Have a history of sexually transmitted disease.
- Have experienced two or more miscarriages (known as recurrent miscarriage).
Types of infertility testing for women