In addition to a complete medical history and a physical examination, diagnostic testing may be needed to give a clear picture of what might be needed to optimize chances for pregnancy.
“Don’t order a test unless it is going to change what you are going to do.” Wise words offered by wise professors in medical school. At MCRH we are careful with your health care dollars, using laboratory and diagnostic imaging testing judiciously to create the right treatment plan for you.
It is important to understand that all diagnostic testing is used to predict the involvement of a particular aspect of the reproductive system in difficulties leading to conception. With this in mind, the following tests may be readily performed either at MCRH, or with your local health care team.
An HSG test is used to examine a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes. This x-ray study involves a contrast dye being placed into the uterus to show the contour of the uterine cavity and patency of the tubes (if they are present). The test provides information on abnormalities of the uterus or fallopian tubes. When performed appropriately, it can be a relatively pain-free procedure.
SHG is a procedure in which sterile water is inserted via a catheter into the uterus. Using transvaginal ultrasonography a number of abnormalities can be identified, both of the uterus and the ovaries.
Individualized hormonal testing is often utilized to determine abnormalities which may negatively impact chances for fertility. Testing for thyroid and pituitary gland abnormalities are often required. More commonly, testing for how well the ovary is functioning is important using both laboratory and diagnostic imaging studies.
Semen analysis is the most direct, simple and cost-effective way to evaluate male-factor infertility. This requires the collection of a semen sample at MCRH or an approved off-site facility. The sample should be collected after a 2-7 day abstinence period, and is evaluated to determine factors such as semen volume, consistency, pH, sperm density, motility, and morphology (shape).
Normal sperm production and sexual function are dependent upon a normal hormonal environment. With this in mind, should the semen analysis reveal abnormalities, hormonal testing (via a blood test) will be suggested to determine how best to improve sperm function.