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Fertility Testing and Infertility Treatment Options

Submitted on March 27, 2012
Recurrent failures at conception can be disheartening, but infertility neednít be permanent & is usually treatable.
Fertility Testing and Infertility Treatment Options

There are several different tests available for infertility in women and in men. In the case of women, infertility tests include:

  • Hormone Levels - Blood and urine tests are used to monitor the levels of hormones such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and estrogen. These include tests for ovarian reserve which reveals the number of follicles and the maturity of eggs. These tests are important in the case of older women.
  • Thyroid Function - Blood tests to measure thyroid hormones as these may indirectly affect fertility.
  • Clomiphene Challenge Test - This test is used to measure ovarian reserve and the results indicate the chances for a positive outcome.
  • Tissue Samples - Tissue samples from the uterus and cervix are taken to rule out infection and certain other defects that may be the cause of infertility.
  • Imaging and Diagnostic Tests - These are usually undertaken if the initial round of tests does not reveal any abnormalities.
  • There are four different methods that are used while examining the uterus and the fallopian tubes. They are ultrasound, hysterosalpingography, hysteroscopy and laparoscopy.

Infertility Tests For Men include

  • Physical Examination - An essential part of the testing process, it is used to detect large varicoceles and other physical abnormalities.
  • Prostate Gland - This will also be checked for abnormalities.
  • Urine Testing - A urine sample is tested for signs of infection and retrograde ejaculation.
  • Semen Analysis - Sperm count, motility and morphology are checked for signs of infertility.
  • Blood Tests - Tests are performed to check for infections and hormone levels (in case of low sperm concentration or if other indications of hormonal disorders are present).
  • Imaging Tests - Ultrasound imaging can help detect cysts, tumors, abnormal blood flow or signs of testicular cancer.

The treatment for female infertility will first deal with any underlying conditions that may be the cause of infertility. If there is no underlying condition, then certain lifestyle changes such as dietary changes, exercise and stress management may be required. Drugs may be prescribed that can induce ovulation and assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization may be tried.

In the case of men, any underlying condition will be treated first. Drug therapy to treat hormonal imbalances may be required. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection may be required in combination with IVF. As a last resort, couples may consider using a sperm or an egg donor.

References

  • http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_causes_female_infertility_000022_4.htm
  • http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_causes_of_male_infertility_000067_4.htm