Maybe you thought that when you tried to have a baby, it would just happen. But for whatever reason, it isn’t happening and now you are wondering why not. Your next step might be to make an appointment with an OBGYN for some testing or even fertility treatment.
Not everyone will have every fertility test performed, but most people will at least start with a round of fertility testing. Dr. Alan Patterson explains more about what fertility testing usually includes.
The first step
The first step in finding out why you’re having difficulty in conceiving a child is often to look at the basics. Some of those basics include:
Timing conception properly
Many women are unfamiliar with their bodies and when they can get pregnant. Although it is theoretically possible to get pregnant at any time, your odds of conception greatly improve if you time your attempts at an appropriate time of your cycle.
Every woman has a fertility cycle, during which they’re much more likely to conceive. For most women, this is around the middle of their menstrual cycle. However, this can vary depending on other factors, including conditions you might have, like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS.)
Waiting until you’re off birth control long enough
For most women, your fertility returns to normal shortly after you stop taking birth control. However, other factors can determine how long this is, including:
- The type of birth control (like long-range forms of contraception such as the Depo-Provera shot) can take a bit longer to wear off
- Your fertility generally returns to whatever it was before you started birth control, which may not have been optimal, especially if you took birth control to regulate your periods
A general physical exam
We’ll also do a general physical exam if you’re trying to conceive. Dr. Patterson will ask questions such as the following:
- About your periods and how often they occur
- Whether or not you’re having other symptoms, such as heavy or painful bleeding
- If your period has changed, including whether or not you are having more clotting
- What medications you and your partner take
- If you’ve ever been pregnant before
- What method of birth control you used
In addition, Dr. Patterson may also do a Pap smear to examine the appearance of your cervix.
The basics of fertility testing
If you’ve been timing your conception attempts properly and are still unsuccessful, we’ll look at doing some fertility tests of both men and women. About 30% of infertility cases are because of factors involving the male, 30% are because of female factors, and the remaining percentage have factors that can’t be identified.
One of the fertility tests for women measures whether or not you’re ovulating and how many oocytes (or eggs) you have left. This is called your ovarian reserve. It’s done with just a simple blood draw.
Another blood draw he may order includes a test of your progesterone levels. This hormone is often involved if you have a history of early miscarriage.
Dr. Patterson may also order a sperm sample from your male partner, which he’ll examine for signs of abnormalities.
If you need further testing
If any of your basic fertility tests come back as abnormal, Dr. Patterson may order additional tests. He may also recommend medications to induce ovulation. He’s committed to helping you achieve a successful conception. Contact Dr. Alan Patterson today or request an appointment online.