Fertility Tests in
the Male and Female
Correct diagnosis of fertility problems
in both the male and female are the first steps in
Treatment should not be initiated until an understanding
of the potential problems in both partners has been
developed. Many of the various fertility tests listed below will be
ordered to assess the many processes that must occur
in order for pregnancy to result.
These tests include measuring the male’s
ability to produce enough quality
sperm to cause fertilization. In the female, the
tubes and other reproductive
structures will be evaluated. Additionally, the many
interactions will be evaluated.
Male Fertility Investigation
factor is a major cause of infertility
being implicated in over 47% of infertile couples.
Infertility can no longer be considered “a female
problem” and certainly no treatment of the female
should begin prior to the male evaluation. The male
semen analysis is
one of the most important diagnostic tests.
The semen analysis must be performed
by a laboratory
with infertility expertise using the “Krueger
Strict Criteria". These criteria establish the
normal, and abnormal, values for specific sperm characteristics.
Most importantly, the shape of the sperm and its capacity
to fertilize eggs. It is usually best if a reproductive
laboratory with extensive infertility experience performs
the semen analysis.
Some managed care companies direct patients to commercial laboratories, which may, or may not, have personnel familiar with the many subtle sperm characteristics. The test is not expensive and the possible “out of pocket” cost for using a reproductive laboratory with an andrologist is far outweighed by the potential benefits.
Male Fertility Tests
The initial step in performing a female fertility investigation is an exploration of the patient's medical history, including:
- Past medical and surgical events
- Sexual development
- Use of birth control
- Previous pregnancies including terminations
- A complete physical including a gynecological evaluation will be conducted
Many of the various tests listed below will be ordered to document:
- Can an egg be produced that will fertilize and develop?
- Is the cervical mucus the correct consistency and free of antisperm antibodies?
- Will the endometrium develop properly to support an implanting embryo?
- Are the tubes open and able to transport an egg?
- Are conditions that can affect infertility such as PCOS, endometriosis, or others present?
- Is the uterus free of major obstructions and congenital deformities?
Female Fertility Tests