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Infertility Tests - Overview

What are infertility tests?

Infertility tests are done to help find out why a woman cannot become pregnant. The tests help find whether the problem is with the man, the woman, or both. Tests usually include a physical exam, semen analysis, blood tests, and special procedures.

See pictures of the male reproductive system camera.gif and the female reproductive system camera.gif.

Should I be tested?

Before you have infertility tests, try fertility awareness methods to find the best time to become pregnant. A woman is most fertile during ovulation and 1 to 2 days before ovulation. Some couples find that they have been missing the most fertile days when trying to become pregnant. A woman should keep a record of her menstrual cycle and when she ovulates. This record will help your doctor if you decide to have infertility tests. For more information, see the topic Fertility Awareness.

Consider infertility tests for you or your partner if:

  • There is a physical problem, such as not being able to release sperm (ejaculate) or not ovulating or having irregular menstrual cycles.
  • You are in your mid-30s or older, have not used birth control for 6 months, and have not been able to become pregnant.
  • You are in your 20s or early 30s, have not used birth control for a year or more, and have not been able to become pregnant.
Fertility Problems: Should I Be Tested?

How do infertility tests feel?

Some tests, such as a semen analysis, physical exam, and blood tests, do not cause pain. But some procedures, such as an endometrial biopsy, a laparoscopy, or a hysterosalpingogram, may cause some pain.

Do the tests cost a lot?

Infertility tests can cost a lot and cause stress. You and your partner will need to keep track of the frequency of sexual intercourse and talk about this with your doctor.

Before you have infertility tests, talk with your partner about how much testing you want to do. Sometimes you may not find out what causes infertility even after many tests. So it is important to know how many tests you want to try.

What are the risks of infertility tests?

Simple tests, such as semen analysis, blood tests, or an ultrasound, do not usually cause any problems. Other tests that are medical procedures, such as hysteroscopy or laparoscopy, have a higher chance of problems after the test.

Where are infertility tests done?

Many infertility tests, including the physical exam, medical history, and blood tests, can be done in your doctor's office or clinic by an obstetrician or reproductive endocrinologist. Your internist or family medicine physician may do some of the first tests. Tests on a man may be done by a urologist. Some medical procedures are done in an operating room.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 10, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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