Fertility treatment is a journey often filled with mixed emotions. However, equipping yourself with knowledge is an empowering step forward. Let’s talk about how to test for infertility.

Use this article to gain essential insights into the very nature of infertility and see the range of fertility treatments available. Together, let’s demystify this tough topic and explore how Plaza OB-GYN can be your beacon of hope in Houston.

What is Infertility?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines infertility as “the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.”

To break it down further:

  1. Primary infertility occurs when a couple has never conceived a child. They may have been trying for years with no success.
  2. Secondary infertility is when a couple has previously conceived but is now facing difficulty conceiving again.

How Common is Infertility?

Infertility is not just a woman’s problem. Both male and female infertility play roles when you’re trying to conceive. Worldwide, about 50-70 million couples deal with this problem. For some couples dealing with infertility, both partners have contributing factors that are treatable. For others, one or both partners may be burdened with unexplained infertility.

What Causes Infertility in Women?

Pinpointing the cause of your infertility can significantly influence the outcomes of infertility treatment. That’s why it’s important to approach this subject with a willingness to face the hard questions. Remember, it’s not about assigning blame. It’s about coming together to find solutions.

What Can Cause Infertility?

Several medical conditions and situations can negatively affect the female reproductive system. Below are some primary culprits:

Hormonal Imbalance

Some conditions—such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and problems with the pituitary gland—can disrupt the menstrual cycle. Absent menstrual periods make it harder to produce eggs due to delayed or failed ovulation.

Fallopian Tube Damage

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a serious health problem often resulting from sexually transmitted infections. It’s a condition that can damage or block the fallopian tubes. This affects fertility by preventing the sperm from reaching the egg or the fertilized egg from reaching the uterus.

Endometriosis

This painful disorder causes tissue similar to the lining of the uterus to grow outside the uterus. This tissue can cause scarring and negatively impact the function of vital reproductive organs.

Uterine Fibroids

These common non-cancerous growths develop in the uterus and can cause symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and pressure. Fibroids vary in size and number and are often asymptomatic. If it’s determined they’re interfering with pregnancy, however, they may be surgically removed.

The Clock’s Influence on Fertility Problems

Age remains one of the most significant causes of infertility in women. As a woman ages, poor egg quality and a decline in reproductive hormones make her chances of having a baby decrease rapidly. Her ability to get pregnant without interventions starts to take a hit as early as her mid-30s.

Other Factors That Affect Fertility

Additionally, lifestyle and environmental factors—such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and exposure to certain environmental toxins—can devastate reproductive health. Unlike age, these are risk factors that you have some control over.

How to Know if You’re Infertile.

Struggling with infertility is about more than finding it challenging to conceive naturally. Here are some other signs that may point to a potential infertility diagnosis. These are important to know before we talk about how to test for infertility.

Menstrual Irregularities

Absent or irregular menstrual periods can indicate ovulation problems. While some variation month to month is normal, consistently long or short cycles might mean something is wrong.

Painful Periods

Intense cramps or pelvic pain can be linked to conditions like endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or uterine fibroids. The bad news is that all three can impact fertility. The good news is that they’re all treatable.

Changes in Sex Drive

An unexplained decrease or increase in sexual desire may suggest an underlying hormonal problem. Whether it’s because you’re not ovulating or because you’re not having unprotected sex frequently enough, your condition can make it hard to get pregnant.

Other Physical Symptoms

Hair loss, weight gain, acne, or changes in skin pigmentation can be symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or other hormonal causes of infertility, such as insulin resistance.

If you notice any of these symptoms, reach out to your doctor. Early detection can lead to more effective treatment.

How to Test for Infertility

At Plaza OB-GYN, we know how to check for infertility with a comprehensive approach. Our fertility tests include the following:

1. Medical History

Before doing anything else, we require a detailed medical and sexual history. We want to know about any underlying health conditions, lifestyle factors, previous pregnancies, or genetic predispositions that might impact your situation.

2. Blood Tests

Your hormone levels have to be just right to achieve a successful pregnancy. We can easily evaluate and monitor these hormone levels with simple blood tests. For many women, hormone therapy is as much intervention as they need.

3. Semen Analysis

A semen analysis is the first step when evaluating the male infertility factor. This testing examines sperm count and quality, a good indication of the overall health of the male reproductive system.

4. Ultrasonography

The health of your ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes can be evaluated with ultrasound. This non-invasive procedure can shed light on any health and developmental problems that might need surgical correction.

5. Laparoscopy

In cases where a more detailed examination is needed, a laparoscopy involves inserting a small camera through an incision in the abdomen to get a live visual of the internal organs.

Remember, when we talk about how to test for infertility, we’re talking about a constellation of tests that pave the way for infertility treatment. Plaza OB-GYN is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to ensure that every woman and man gets the best fertility care services available.

What is Fertility Treatment?

Finding out you’re facing infertility can be overwhelming, but with modern advancements in assisted reproductive technology (ART), many roads lead to parenthood. At Plaza OB-GYN, we aim to offer individualized, effective solutions for every patient. These are some of the options we may discuss:

1. Medication

Certain medications stimulate ovulation, increasing the chances of producing a mature egg. This is usually the first treatment when addressing infertility, especially for those diagnosed with hormone or ovulation problems.

2. Surgery

Some causes—like blocked fallopian tubes, uterine fibroids, or severe endometriosis—might require surgical interventions to make pregnancy possible.

3. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Commonly called artificial insemination, IUI involves directly placing sperm into the uterus. This method increases the odds of sperm finding and fertilizing an egg.

4. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

One of the more well-known infertility treatments, IVF involves removing eggs from the ovaries, fertilizing them outside the body, and then implanting the very young embryo into the uterus. Patients who select this route will be referred to a more specialized clinic.

5. Egg or Sperm Donation

For some couples, donor eggs or donor sperm offer a viable path to pregnancy. It’s an option when one partner has significant fertility issues, or there are risks of transmitting a genetic disease.

Every patient’s journey to parenthood is unique, so we believe in a comprehensive approach. With the latest assisted reproductive technology and a deep understanding of both female and male hormones, we’re here to walk you through all your options: how to test for infertility and how to find the right treatment.

Start Seeking Solutions Today

Addressing infertility can be overwhelming, but you’re not alone. At Plaza OB-GYN, we provide compassionate, top-tier infertility and fertility care services. If you’re ready to take the next step, we invite you to schedule an appointment. Together, we’ll work towards the dream of building your family.

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