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Fertility Tests for Women

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Infertility Tests for Women continued...

OvulationTests
In order to get pregnant, a woman has to release an egg each month (ovulation). Women who have inconsistent periods may need testing to confirm they're ovulating. Tests related to ovulation include:

  • A urine test at home can detect luteinizing hormone (LH), which appears in high levels in the urine just before ovulation.

  • The doctor may check levels of the hormone progesterone in a woman's blood. Increases in progesterone indicate ovulation.

  • A woman can check her body temperature each morning. Basal body temperature rises a bit just after ovulation. By checking her body temperature each morning, a woman can detect this rise, showing her ovulation pattern over months.

  • The doctor may also run tests on a woman's thyroid, or check for other hormonal problems, to rule out underlying causes of missed or irregular ovulation.

Tests of Reproductive Organs
The uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries must all be working well in order to get pregnant. Different procedures can check the health of these organs:

  • Hysterosalpinogram. Also called an HSG or "tubogram," a series of X-rays is taken of the woman's fallopian tubes and uterus after a liquid dye has been injected through the vagina. Another method involves using saline and air instead of dye and an ultrasound. The HSG can help diagnose fallopian tube blockages and defects of the uterus. If one of the tubes is blocked, the obstruction should be seen on an X-ray. An HSG is usually done just after a menstrual period.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound. An ultrasound wand is introduced into the vagina to bring it close to the pelvic organs. Using sound waves, a doctor can see images of the ovaries and uterus. Often the doctor can determine whether there are follicles in the ovaries.
  • Hysteroscopy. A thin, flexible tube with a camera on its lighted end is threaded through the cervix into the uterus. The doctor can see problems with the uterus, and take tissue samples if needed.
  • Laparoscopy. Small cuts are made in the abdomen and tools including a camera inserted into the belly. This surgery can evaluate the entire pelvis and potentially correct problems, such as endometriosis. However, laparoscopy is invasive and involves small risks.
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