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    Fertility Tests for Women

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    If you and your partner are trying to have a baby but haven't been able to, you may start to wonder if you should get fertility tests. Experts say it's time to check with a doctor if you've had regular sex -- without birth control -- for 6 to 12 months.

    It's important for the two of you to go for testing together. When you see your doctor, he'll probably start by asking questions about your health and lifestyle. He'll want to know things about you and your partner like:

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    • Medical history, including any long-term conditions or surgeries
    • Medicines you take
    • Whether you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, eat or drink things with caffeine, or use illicit drugs
    • If you had contact with chemicals, toxins, or radiation at home or work

    He'll also want to know about your sex life, such as:

    • How often you have sex
    • Your history of birth control use
    • If you've had sexually transmitted diseases
    • Any problems having sex
    • Whether either of you had sex outside the relationship

    Your doctor will also have questions about things connected with your periods, such as:

    • Have you been pregnant before?
    • How often have you had periods over the last year?
    • Have you had irregular and missed periods or had spotting between periods?
    • Did you have any changes in blood flow or the appearance of large blood clots?
    • What methods of birth control have you used?
    • Have you ever seen a doctor for infertility, and did you get any treatment?

    Infertility Tests for Women

    There is no single best test for infertility. Doctors use a variety of ways to identify any problems that might help cause fertility trouble.

    You may get a Pap smear. It can detect cervical cancer, other problems with the cervix, or sexually transmitted diseases. Any of these can interfere with getting pregnant.

    To get pregnant, you need to release an egg each month -- called "ovulation." You may need tests that check for that.

    Your doctor may ask you to take a urine test at home for luteinizing hormone, or LH. This hormone shows up in high levels just before you ovulate.

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