Fertility Tests – Options for Men and Women
It is hard when you have been trying for a baby and time seems to be passing by without getting pregnant. It is estimated that about one third of women and one third of men may have some underlying issues which could be looked at and the remaining one third is unexplained fertility issues.
There are a number of tests for both men and women which can be taken to help identify issues which will hopefully provide a path forward for you.
Low sperm counts, poor quality sperm or both are believed to be the reason for 90% of male infertility causes. Other reasons include genetic issues, possible hormonal imbalances or anatomical issues as well as unexplained reasons which may be caused by an infection which interfere with sperm health.
Sperm takes around 74 days to mature and then around 20 additional days to become capable of fertilisation. This means this is a three month process.
It is often possible to improve sperm count by having a good diet and a healthy lifestyle. Where your diet is lacking, taking key nutrients can enhance your everyday diet and help when trying for a baby.
If you believe there may be an issue with sperm production or quality, it is a good idea to get a semen analysis.
This test will give information on Sperm Count, Sperm Motility (how the sperm swims) and Sperm Morphology (the shape of the sperm). A sperm sample is needed and the sperm analysis should take place within two hours of collection in the clinic/relevant doctor surgery.
Sperm DNA Fragmentation Test
This test concerns the DNA integrity of sperm, which is important for the success of both natural and assisted pregnancy, and also helps with normal development of the embryo, foetus and child. It determines the fertility potential of the sperm sample
Male Hormone Profile
The testosterone test checks the level of androgen (which support the production of sperm) in the blood. It will indicate if there is a possible hormonal causes of infertility.
This blood test exams the male chromosome to see if there are any chromosome abnormalities and genetic disease.
Chromosome Analysis + Y Micro-Deletions
If portions of the Y chromosome DNA are deleted or missing, this can affect male fertility. If any portion is absent it may help predict the ability to generate sperm in the testicles.
In women, the main issues they face relate to ovulation -are you ovulating regularly and are your eggs healthy? And to the fallopian tubes -are your fallopian tubes open?
Luckily, there are a number of tests which can be taken which will help clarify your next steps when trying for a baby.
Female Fertility Hormone Test
Blood tests are taken and will help give your fertility levels. They look at hormonal issues and assess ovary health. Your medical professional will explain what day in the cycle these tests should be taken (usually early in the cycle).
On Day 21 your hormone progesterone levels can be checked – it will show if you have ovulated and when.
This test uses vaginal ultrasound scans and takes place on day 9/10 or 11/12 of a woman’s cycle and shows if an egg follicle is growing and preparing for ovulation.
Antral Follicle Count
These small follicles are a measure of ovarian activity. Counted via vaginal ultrasound, they give the strongest indicator of the ovaries’ capacity to develop egg cells. This can help when looking at the possible reaction to ovarian stimulation drugs and the possibility of a successful pregnancy via IVF.
This checks for blocked fallopian tubes and detects problems in the uterus, including shape and overall structure.
Results from this test can indicate whether a chromosome-related defect is preventing pregnancy or causing miscarriages. A karyotype test can also determine whether or not a chromosome defect is present in a foetus.
There are other tests which you can take – one called the (AMH) Anti-Müllerian Hormone is often used with older women who may feel they should be assessed for age-related fertility
Source: Mr Declan Keane, founder and Senior Clinical Embryologist at ReproMed.
- See more at: https://www.vhiblog.ie/2016/11/14/fertility-testing-what-to-expect/#sthash.A4GLmMAl.dpuf
Some info from simplyconceive.ie