Evaluating Your Reproductive Health
What do you do when pregnancy does not come easily? If you have been trying to get pregnant without success, your OB/GYN may be a good first step. However, many OB/GYNs do not treat infertility.
When it comes to infertility, reproductive endocrinologists and fertility specialists are who you want to see. These experts are trained to evaluate and treat many fertility problems, including problems affecting your reproductive organs.
Your reproductive system
For pregnancy to occur, your reproductive organs must be in good health. Genetic conditions, health problems, and previous surgeries can affect your reproductive system. At times, this can leave you infertile. You may need to undergo the fertility test process before you can begin fertility treatments. Ask your fertility doctor for more information about this process.
If you are not ovulating regularly, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests:
- An ovulation predictor kit (OPK)
- Basal body temperature (BBT) tracking
- Hormone tests
Your doctor may also want to use a transvaginal ultrasound to diagnose other ovarian fertility problems. This fertility test may help your doctor identify ovarian disorders including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Your doctor may also use a transvaginal ultrasound to observe your uterus and abdomen. This fertility test can help your doctor identify problems within your uterus, including:
To further evaluate your uterus, your doctor may also perform one of the following procedures:
Endometrial biopsy is another fertility test for the uterus. During an endometrial biopsy, your doctor takes a tissue sample from your uterus to check for possible fertility problems.
Your fallopian tubes must be open and healthy for you to get pregnant on your own. Tubal problems are common causes of infertility. Your doctor may diagnose and treat your tubes by using hysterosalpingogram or a surgery called laparoscopy. However, your tubes could be severely damaged and surgery may not help you conceive. In this case, in vitro fertilization (IVF) may offer you the best chances of bringing home a baby.
Your cervix (the opening from your vagina into your uterus) performs an important function during reproduction. Your cervix produces cervical mucus (CM) to help sperm reach your egg. Problems with CM quality or quantity could inhibit pregnancy. A postcoital test (PCT) may help your doctor identify issues with CM that could prevent your partner's sperm from reaching your egg.
Your peritoneum lines your abdomen. Scar tissue and endometriosis sometimes affect the peritoneum. At times, this can cause infertility. Your doctor may choose to evaluate and treat peritoneal problems with laparoscopy.
See a fertility specialist
If your reproductive system is not in good health, pregnancy will not come easily. A fertility specialist can examine your reproductive organs if you are having trouble getting pregnant. A thorough exam will help your doctor devise a treatment plan to help you conceive.