What is a Fertility Evaluation and How is it Done?
The journey to parenthood is unique for each couple but in the case of some couples, it takes a little longer than others to become parents due to certain issues related to their fertility potential. It’s important to understand that many advanced fertility treatments are available and a holistic approach is what is necessary to become happy parents.
Infertility is on a steady rise in India due to several reasons including delayed parenthood, lifestyle factors, unhealthy food habits, obesity, etc. Many don’t know that fertility declines with age and are in the state of mind that they may conceive naturally with time, which might not happen always. If a couple is unable to conceive even after trying for a year, they should consult a fertility specialist for a proper fertility evaluation. If the female partner’s age is above 35, they should go for a checkup when they haven’t conceived within 6 months of trying. A proper history and investigations for both the husband and the wife alone can help in identifying whether the problem lies with the male or the female partner or both and devise a personalized treatment plan accordingly. So let’s take a quick look at the specific tests done for men and women during a fertility checkup.
Fertility Tests for Women
After a thorough history and physical examination, blood and urine tests are done to check the level of fertility hormones like FSH, LH, Estradiol, AMH, etc. Below are some of the imaging procedures that can be done to look for specific causes:
- Ultrasound: Used to check the presence of ovarian cysts, fibroids. Helps to understand the position and size of the uterus, endometrial pattern, thickness, number of follicles in the ovaries, ovulation, etc.
- Hysterosalpingogram: Used to detect if there is any block in fallopian tubes
- Diagnostic Hysterolaparoscopy: Used to investigate the pelvic area of women to check and treat if there are ovarian cysts, endometriosis, fibroids, uterine anomalies, or any other issue which can affect fertility
Fertility Tests for Men
A physical examination will be done to examine the penis, vas deferens, testes, and other parts of the male reproductive system.
The fertility expert will enquire about one’s medical history, childhood illness, lifestyle, information about exposure to heavy metals/pesticides/radiation, etc. Below are the tests that are done:
- Semen Analysis: Used to analyze sperm count, motility, shape, etc. Advanced semen tests like DNA Fragmentation Index, Reactive Oxygen Species assay, etc. can help to evaluate cases of secondary and unexplained infertility
- Transrectal Ultrasound: Uses high-resolution imaging to examine seminal vesicles, vas deferens, etc.
- Scrotal Ultrasound: Used in the examination of the scrotum; can also help in finding out any abnormalities in the testes
Fertility evaluation enables the fertility specialist to understand the reason for infertility and create a holistic and personalized fertility treatment plan that can help in achieving one’s parenthood dream. Happy Parenthood!