Fertility tests & early treatment
The choice of a particular fertility treatment will depend on the type (cause) of infertility that investigations reveal. If you have had investigations ordered by your GP, it is important to make it known to myself before the first consultation so that these can be accessed. Most of these do not need to be repeated. Some tests are ordered to ensure you are ready for pregnancy, while others assess the specific cause of your fertility problem.
To determine this, you will be required to undergo a number of preliminary tests. These include:
Female fertility tests
- Common blood tests include follicular phase (early cycle) sex hormones (estrogen, luteinising hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and thyroid stimulating hormone).
- A blood test to predict ovarian reserve, called the anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), which is often done with an antral follicle count (AFC), via an ultrasound scan. AMH is a hormone produced by ovarian follicles that contain eggs. The level of AMH gives an indication of the ovarian activity in a month, or the number of eggs being produced (ovarian reserve).
- A pelvic ultrasound scan is performed to check the pelvic anatomy and exclude ovarian cysts. This is known as a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), and is an X-ray dye study that will check the uterine cavity and exclude blockage of the fallopian tubes. This can also be done with a saline sonohysterogram, which is a specialised type of ultrasound scan.
Male fertility tests
- A “sperm count” is also known as a semen analysis, which looks at the sperm concentration, motility (ability to swim) and morphology (shape).
- An abnormal blood count may require blood tests such as FSH, LH and testosterone.
- Depending on your history and the results of the initial tests, a sperm DNA fragmentation test or a testicular biopsy may be requested.
Early fertility treatment
I always like to start with the most “natural” or least-invasive treatment that is suitable for your individual circumstances. This can range from ovulation induction, artificial insemination to donor insemination. I will discuss the best option for you at your appointment.