Why You Are Unable To Conceive: Part Two
Infertility may be caused by more than one factor. Some causes are easily found and treated, while others are not. In some cases, no cause can be found in either partner.
You and your partner will receive care as a couple. The decision to begin testing depends on a number of factors. These include the age of the couple and how long the couple has been trying to get pregnant.
The basic workup of an infertility evaluation can be finished within a few menstrual cycles in most cases. Ask your doctor about the costs involved. Find out whether they are covered by your insurance. The workup includes:
• Physical exam
• Medical history
• Semen analysis
• Check for ovulation
• Tests to check for a normal uterus and open fallopian tubes
• Discussion about how often and when you have sex
Basic Workup for the Man
A semen analysis is a key part of the basic workup. It may need to be done more than once. The sample is obtained by masturbation. Sometimes it can be obtained at home. Sometimes it is obtained in a lab. Your doctor will give you instructions. The semen sample is studied in a lab. The doctor will study the sperm for:
• Signs of infection
The man may be referred to a urologist (a doctor with special skill in treating problems of the urinary tract). The urologist will perform an exam, and tests may be done.
Basic Workup For the Woman
The workup begins with a physical exam and health history. The health history will focus on key points:
• Menstrual function, such as irregular bleeding and pain
• Pregnancy history
• Sexually transmitted disease (STD) history
• Birth control
Other tests, such as a pap test and blood tests, may be done. There are many ways to see if ovulation occurs. Next month’s article will describe the tests and procedures used.