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8 Fertility Testing

Here are some basic procedures that you can expect to have done at the OB or specialists office to evaluate if you are suffering from any impairment known to impede fertility.

For Women

  • A physical and pelvic exam, including a pap smear. This will detect any abnormal cells in

    your cervix and STD infections.

  • Blood test-to check your thyroid, hemoglobin, hormones
  • Ultrasound-to check the follicles (sacs in the ovaries that are stimulated by hormones that cause ovulation), and to examine your cervix and uterus
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) a 5-minute x-ray examination (fluoroscopy) that uses dyes inserted vaginally to check your uterus and fallopian tubes for injuries such as blockage, scarring, polyps, and fibroids.

For Men

  • A physical exam-checking the penis, scrotum, and testes. A swabbing sample is taken from the top of the penis
  • A semen analysis-to check for low sperm count and quality
  • Having a blockage in his reproductive organs from allowing sperm to flow out

Habits known to cause infertility

  • Obesity or being overweight- Not maintaining healthy eating habits causes risk of diabetes, which can cause up to 10% of infertility in men, and produces too much estrogen in women-causing up to 30-40% of the population to not ovulate on a regular basis.
  • Smoking nicotine/marijuana it ages your eggs, and causes low-quality sperm/sperm count.
  • Alcohol-Very heavy or binge drinking disrupts normal ovulation cycles, giving lesser probabilities in conceiving

Conditions known to cause infertility

  • Age- Fertility declines with age, particularly around the mid 30’s.
  • Untreated STD’s, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea-causing 40% to develop PID. (see below)
  • Pelvic Inflammatory disease-an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs, mostly caused by STD’s
  • Endometriosis- when tissues from the uterus spread to other parts of a woman's reproductive organs during menstruation
  • Fibroids-benign tumors that grow within the walls of the uterus
  • Ovarian cysts- fluid filled sacs that grow within or on top of the ovaries, causing irregular menstruation
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome-a very common condition of infertility where the ovaries produce too much testosterone, leading to consistent & unexplained weight gain or obesity, acne, hair growth, and an inability to ovulate.
  • Thyroid disorder- it can disrupt ovulation cycles so maintaining healthy thyroid levels are crucial and can be treated with medication
  • Irregular Menstruation
  • Radiation and chemotherapy used to treat cancer
  • Being exposed to toxic environments
  • Scrotum Varicocele-veins around a testicle that disrupts sperm production
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Blockage of a man's reproductive track, so no sperm is found in his semen
  • Retrograde ejaculation-where semen does not flow out from the penis

Next 7  Some Basics About Assisted Reproductive Technology

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