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Fertility tests are the best way to know whether you’re infertile, and can help you find the cause. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than 1 year, talk to a doctor

How do I know if I’m infertile?

It can be hard to tell whether you’re actually infertile. Often there aren’t any signs of infertility, except for not being able to get pregnant or stay pregnant. The only way to know for sure is to meet with a doctor and get infertility testing.

When should I see a doctor about infertility testing?

It’s normal to take up to a year to get pregnant. But if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than 1 year and haven’t had any luck, it’s a good idea to talk with a doctor about infertility testing.

Certain health problems can make getting pregnant more difficult. Don’t wait a year to talk to your doctor if you or your partner has a history of:

Some doctors recommend that women over 35 seek infertility testing after 6 months of trying to get pregnant.

Your family doctor or gynecologist can test you for infertility, or refer you to a fertility specialist. Your local Planned Parenthood health center can also help you find fertility testing in your area.

What happens during a fertility test?

Testing for infertility usually begins with a nurse or doctor talking with you about your medical history and doing a physical exam. It can take several months for your doctor to figure out what’s causing your fertility problems, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get an answer right away.

Fertility testing of eggs/uterus/fallopian tubes:

Your doctor will give you a pelvic exam. They may also use an ultrasound to look at your ovaries and uterus, and give you a blood test to check your hormones. Sometimes you’ll need to start tracking your ovulation patterns by checking your cervical mucus, taking your temperature, or using home ovulation tests.

Other tests and procedures are usually done later if the first exams don’t find the answer. A special test called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) can help see if your fallopian tubes are open. A doctor will put dye in your uterus, and then use an X-ray machine to watch the dye move through your uterus and fallopian tubes.

In some cases, infertility testing may include minor surgeries to look inside your body. The doctor will use special tools to check your fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus for problems.

Fertility testing of sperm/semen:

This type of fertility testing usually includes a physical exam and a semen analysis. Your semen will be tested for:

  • sperm count (how many sperm there are in your semen)

  • how quickly your sperm move

  • the size, shape, and quality of your sperm

  • the amount of seminal fluid

You may also have a blood test to find out if there are any hormone problems that could make it harder for you to cause a pregnancy.

How is infertility treated?

There are several types of infertility treatments. The kinds that are best for you depend on the cause of your fertility problems. Sometimes only one person needs treatment, other times both partners will use a combination of treatments together.

Treatment for infertility can include a combination of lifestyle changes, medicine, hormone therapy, and surgical procedures. If there’s a problem with your sperm or eggs, you can use sperm and/or eggs from a donor. Two of the most common fertility treatments are intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Learn more about fertility treatments.

Treating infertility usually begins by visiting a doctor who specializes in pregnancy and infertility. Your family doctor or gynecologist can refer you to a fertility specialist. You may also be able to get fertility treatments, or help finding a fertility specialist in your area, from your local Planned Parenthood health center.

More questions from patients:

How is infertility in women treated?

There are several ways to treat infertility in cis women. The treatments that are best for you depend on the cause of your fertility problems. Sometimes only one person needs treatment, other times both partners will use a combination of treatments together.

Treatment for infertility can include a combination of

  • lifestyle changes

  • medicine

  • hormone therapy

  • surgery

If there’s a problem with your eggs, you can use eggs from someone else who volunteers to donate their eggs. Two of the most common fertility treatments are intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Learn more about fertility treatments.

Treating infertility usually begins by visiting a doctor who specializes in pregnancy and infertility. They’ll talk to you about your medical history and do a physical exam. It can take several months for your doctor to figure out what’s causing fertility problems, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get an answer right away.

Your family doctor or ob-gyn can refer you to a fertility specialist. You may also be able to get fertility treatments, or help finding a fertility specialist in your area, from your local Planned Parenthood health center.

What is male infertility?

Male infertility is when a couple's inability to get or stay pregnant is caused by issues in the male reproductive system.

The most common causes of infertility in cis men include:

  • Untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea

  • Low sperm count (not having enough sperm in your semen)

  • Poor sperm motility (when sperm doesn’t swim well enough to reach an egg)

  • Semen that’s too thick for sperm to easily move around in it

  • No sperm in your semen

  • Having too many or too little of the hormones that help your body make sperm

  • Issues with ejaculation

  • Injury to your scrotum and testes

There also are health and lifestyle factors than can increase the risk of infertility in men. These include:

  • Being middle-aged or older

  • Being very overweight or very underweight

  • Smoking cigarettes

  • Drug or alcohol abuse

  • Not getting tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea

  • Cancer and its treatments

  • Overexposure to certain chemicals and toxins

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