Should my partner and I get tested for infertility?
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:
injury or trauma to your scrotum and testes
problems getting an erection
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.