Infertility tests are an important diagnostic tool to ascertain the root cause of the problem and deciding the course of treatment. However, the problem is that a lot of couples don’t know much about these tests marred in medical jargon and doctors and clinics treating them know this all too well. So, when you make up your mind and enter a well-established clinic, you are handed a list of tests (box tests if I can call them) that is a mandatory starting point. Only after the reports of these tests (from labs specified by the clinics) are handed over, doctors agree for an appointment. Regardless of the problem that you may have or irrespective of the tests that you may have done earlier for other doctors that you may have consulted, these tests have to be repeated and a considerable amount of money has to be wasted. This is the price you pay to consult reputed doctors. Now I must add here, that all doctors are not like this; but yes…there are some who still follow “their own rules”.
Now, the question is, how to get out of this? Many of us who have gone through this have one thing in common. We were not armed with the necessary information to guide us through this quagmire of tests. 10 years back, social media was not accessible to all as it is now. So we would blindly follow what our family/friends had to recommend and trusted the goodwill of the doctor.
Today’s woman have an advantage of being informed. And hence this article.In this article we will talk about the basic infertility and pre-IVF workup tests so that when you are asked to go for them , you get them done with complete awareness. If need be, question your doctor on why they are asking a particular test to be done. Be proactive and take charge of your life.
Female Infertility Tests
LH (Luteinizing Hormone) Test –
This hormone is responsible for triggering ovulation. It helps diagnose if your eggs are ovulating in the way they should be or not.
FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) –
This stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles to prepare them for ovulation.
AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) Test –
This one tells you about the ovarian reserve. A woman is born with a certain number of eggs. So, if the AMH count is less it means that the ovarian reserve is fast depleting and that her biological clock is ticking away faster.
Progesterone Hormone Test –
The primary function of progesterone hormone is to stimulate the growth of the uterus lining that helps the embryo to stick, settle and grow. This is the reason why progesterone shots are given during the first trimester post- IVF conception.
Prolactin Hormone –
This hormone is associated with milk production in pregnant and lactating woman. One of the causes for infertility in women is when the prolactin count is high because of which they experience problems with ovulation.
Oestradiol or Estradiol –
Remember the blood test done on the second or third day of your periods. Yes, this is the same test which ascertains if your reproductive cycle is working well and is in sync with ovulation cycle and pattern.
TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) –
This hormone regulates many bodily functions including reproduction and any imbalance with this one has a direct effect on ovulation.
Antibody Test –
In some women experiencing recurrent miscarriages, it is usually believed that they have a condition wherein the antibodies in their system have a tendency to fight their own foetus out. This test is done to rule out such a condition
HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) –
The ‘baap of all diagnostic tests’ – Hysterosalpingogram is an X-ray that checks the fallopian tubes to rule out blockage. Usually done under sedition everywhere else in the world but not in India (I have no idea why) this is the most painful of all tests. A dye is injected inside your uterus and is made to pass through the tubes to ensure that they are not blocked . If you hate HSG as much as I do then Join the HSG Haters Club and read what more women have to say.
Also Read: The Pain Of Infertility | HSG Haters Club
This is an advanced test for it requires a minor surgery in the abdomen and is performed under anesthesia. Small incisions are made and the surgery is performed using laser techniques. A camera is inserted while injecting huge amount of CO2 gas (which often gives nausea, bloating and heavy feeling after the patient gets up). Detailed investigations of all reproductive organs are carried out. If minor endometriosis or cysts are found during the procedure, they are removed using laser while the procedure is on. You must rest after this procedure.
Follicular Cycle Study –
In this test you are asked to come for ultrasound almost every alternate day during your ovulation period. They basically check the cycle of egg formation, numbers formed and whether or not the eggs are rupturing on time and properly. This is an important test and is especially done as a workup to IVF. Information from this test comes handy for egg retrieval.
Male Infertility Tests
This test ascertains the quality of semen based on volume, count, motility and morphology. This is a basic test and usually the beginning point of infertility tests.
There are several other tests to check fertility in men, but fortunately (for men); in India they are not so popular. However, for your information, you can get a detail of these tests here.
Fertility Tests For Couple
Genetic Counselling –When nothing works and doctors are close to terming your condition as unexplained infertility, you are asked to go for genetic counselling. This is expensive and starts with chromosome profile test where chromosome is checked for any structural or profiling anomaly.
Did You Notice A Strange Thing?
If you have carefully read through this article, you could not have overlooked the fact that for women there is an exhaustive list of tests, some painful and intrusive or surgical while for men the buck stops at one simple test. And yet, most Indian men out there don’t want to go for it plainly due to their inflated ego and hypocrisy. I have come across many cases where women keep going through all the painful tests repeatedly while their husbands keep finding excuses to avoid semen analysis (often supported by his family, especially mother). Most women are finally declared fit to reproduce, yet the husbands take no initiative to take the plunge.
I fail to understand why men judge their masculinity by their semen analysis report. If it says your sperm count is less will you become a lesser man, a less loving, a less caring and a less intelligent man then what stops you from going in for a simple test? I’m sure no one can answer this.
A Request To All Men
Please go for semen analysis when asked to. Maintain secrecy if need be. Let it be between you and your family. But get it done, take medicines or go for ICSI or even sperm donation if required. Having a child is the responsibility of both parents. Cooperate with your wife and get onboard.
Ok…I know, I digressed from the topic but this is something I needed to convey.
Do let me know if I missed any important test. Pour in your experiences so that someone new to the world of infertility tests need not lose way. Only information can control anxiety. Let’s join hands to fight infertility…together we can!Tags: diagnosis fertility tests HSG infertility diagnostics laparoscopy LH Ovulation PSH thyroid TSH