First things first, infertility can affect men and decrease their fertility odds. Infertility is not an issue that only women struggle with and face. That being said female infertility is often times an embarrassing, painful and exasperating burden that many women struggle with. From failure to conceive, miscarriages, expensive hormonal treatments, and failed insemination attempts. It can be a trying emotional and mental ordeal. When you and your spouse are actively working to conceive and are constantly facing negative pregnancy tests it’s time to enlist the help of a fertility expert. Before you schedule your first appointment there are some basic things that you should know in advance which can help you better prepare for your appointment while also helping your doctor determine the underlying cause of your infertility.
Infertility is defined when after 12 months of actively trying to conceive or become pregnant you and your spouse are unable to achieve a clinical pregnancy. For women that are 35 years of age and older infertility can be defined when you and your spouse have been actively trying to conceive or become pregnant for a period of 6 months and are unable to achieve a clinical pregnancy. (1)
Infertility is diagnosed when your doctor or fertility expert does a full assessment on your health history and lifestyle and proceeds to administer specific tests on you and your partner to see if they can find what the underlying cause or factor is that could be contributing to your inability to conceive.
Common factors regarding health history that your doctor may want to know:
- Medical history- in which you explain any surgeries, conditions, or health complications
- Medications that you are taking
- Nutrition and lifestyle habits such as do you smoke, how much do you drink, do you use recreational drugs etc.
- If you have had contact with chemicals, toxins or radiation
- Questions regarding your sexual history
- How many partners.
- Birth Control Use.
- History of STD’s.
- Any sexual problems or dysfunctions?
- If you are in a monogamous relationship or not.
- Questions regarding your monthly cycle.
- Have you ever been pregnant?
- How often do you have periods?
- Do you have regular, irregular or missed periods?
- Do you have spotting in between periods?
- What is your blood flow like, do you experience large blood clots?
- What birth control method have you used?
- Have you ever seen a doctor for fertility before and received treatment?
This information helps to paint a picture as to what is going with your body and what your health history is like so the doctor can decide what types of tests would be best to administer or to begin with. It’s very important that you have full disclosure with your doctor regarding your health and sexual history. Do not feel embarrassed or feel as though you should hold anything back.
Testing for Infertility and Reproductive Complications.
In addition to a consultation with your doctor and through pelvic examination. There will also be additional tests that will be required in order to determine what is preventing you from conceiving.
Common tests that are performed for females are:
- Ovulation assessment-which tests to see if you are ovulating each month.
- Urine test for Luteinizing Hormone- these hormones will show in high levels right before you ovulate. This is basically another way to assess how you are ovulating.
- Progesterone levels may be tested this is also another way to assess the ovulation process.
- Thyroid-to see if there are any other hormonal issues interfering with fertility.
- Blood work may also be needed to assess if you are producing ideal amounts of the follicle stimulating hormone or FSH. This hormone is what triggers your body to release an egg each month.
- Test for Ovarian Reserve- this test focuses on assessing the number of eggs you are producing as well as the quality of eggs you are producing.
- Hysterosalpingogram- this test is administered to check your fallopian tube and ovaries to ensure that they are not blocked as well as to see if there are any defects in the uterus.
- Laparoscopy- a tiny incision is made on the stomach and a camera is inserted and the entire pelvic region is examined to check for scars and adhesions.
- Hysteroscopy- a thin tube with a camera on the end where it travels through the cervix and into the uterus to assess if there are any problems and take tissue samples if needed.
- Transvaginal ultrasound- an ultrasound wand is placed into the vagina. This provides the doctor with a picture of the ovaries and uterus to see if there are any problems or issues present.
Conditions That Contribute to Infertility.
It’s only after extensive testing on you and your partner in which the doctor can let you know what is causing your fertility and what your next steps should be. There are many different reasons that could be contributing to your infertility issues. Some common reasons or issues that can contribute to decreased fertility are:
- Uterine Fibroids(specifically submucosal fibroids and intramural fibroids)
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Chronic Illness
- Blocked Fallopian Tubes
- Poor Egg Quality
- Ovulatory Defects
It is important to work with your doctor during all phases and stages of the process and journey with infertility especially if you are moving towards alternative fertility methods that include IUI, or IVF.
What happens next in your infertility journey is determined by your diagnosis and what your medical professional recommends. Depending on what is happening in your unique situation and what your state of health is will be the deciding factor in what your next course of action should be. Talking with your spouse beforehand and making yourself aware and becoming educated on all of the current options that are available for couples that are struggling with infertility can help to set your mind at ease and give you an idea of what to expect when you talk with your doctor. You will know a little bit about what alternative fertility methods look like, how much they cost, and if it’s something that you and your partner will want to pursue. Keys to handling infertility include working with your medical professional, following a healthy lifestyle, and open communication with your partner at all stages of the process.
About The Author.
Hi, my name is Kathleen but you can call me Kat. I am an Anti-Aging Coach and I am super passionate about empowering women. I encourage women like you to take charge of their feminine health and anti-aging wellness. You can accomplish this holistically and naturally by creating healthy habits with your nutrition, fitness, wellness, and beauty. I create awareness and provide educational content here on my blog, as well as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
My intention is to provide you with education and awareness about women’s health, nutrition, fitness, beauty, wellness, and lifestyle. I primarily help women that are seeking holistic and natural solutions to common feminine health and wellness issues. From infertility to inflammatory acne, from endometriosis to minimalism. I aim to arm you with the tools necessary to speak up and speak out about your issues until you get the answers and solutions you need. If you want to learn more about how you can redefine your health click here and schedule a FREE Discovery session with me and get empowered!