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Infertility Testing

Infertility Testing for Women

Infertility testing for the woman first looks at whether she is ovulating each month. This can be done by methods such as:
  • Charting changes in her morning body temperature
  • A home ovulation test kit (which she can buy at a drug store)
  • Looking at her cervical mucus, which changes throughout her menstrual cycle.
Ovulation can also be checked in her doctor's office with an ultrasound test of the ovaries, or simple blood tests that check hormone levels, like the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) test.
FSH is produced by the pituitary gland. In women, it helps control the menstrual cycle and the production of eggs by the ovaries. The amount of FSH varies throughout the menstrual cycle and is highest just before an egg is released. The amounts of FSH and other hormones (luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone) are measured in both a man and a woman to determine why the couple cannot achieve pregnancy.

Additional Tests Used for Infertility Testing

If the woman is ovulating, more infertility testing will need to be done. These tests can include:
  • A hysterosalpingogram (an x-ray to check if the fallopian tubes are open and to show the shape of the uterus)
  • A laparoscopy (an exam of the tubes and other female organs to look for disease)
  • An endometrial biopsy (an exam of a small shred of the uterine lining to see if monthly changes in it are normal).
Other infertility testing can be done to show whether the sperm and mucus are interacting in the right way, or if the man or woman is forming antibodies that are attacking the sperm and stopping them from getting to the egg.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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