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Fertility Assessment: What to Expect?

Fertility assessment is also interchangeably known as "fertility evaluation" or "fertility screening". It is a set of tests designed to investigate the reason behind the couple’s difficulty to conceive. Couples who had been unsuccessful in trying to conceive over a year’s time are highly recommended to undergo a fertility assessment.

 

 

Who needs it more? Men or women?

 
The answer is both you and your partner are in equal need of it. Generally speaking, when a couple has been unable to achieve pregnancy, there is no obvious tell-tale where the problems might be. After all, both men and women share an equal likelihood of being the cause of infertility. Rather than causing a rift, share the burden and support each other throughout these trying times.

 

What to expect during fertility assessment?

 
Fertility assessment can be categorised into two parts. The first part is about understanding your general health and medical history. The procedures are similar for both men and women. The patient will be subjected to medical history interview and physical examinations.

 

 

Tests for Men

The main test for men is the semen analysis test. Below are the factors being evaluated and indicators of normal semen analysis results.

 

Factors

 

Normal result

 

 

 

Sperm Movement (Motility)

 

More than 50% must move normally after an hour of ejaculation.

 

 

 

Sperm Shape (Morphology)

 

More than 50% must be normally shaped.

 

 

 

PH level

 

Must be between 7.2 to 7.8

 

 

 

Volume

 

Must be greater than two millilitres

 

 

 

Liquefaction

 

Semen should liquefy within 15 to 30 minutes to help sperm moves

 

 

 

Sperm Count

 

Normal sperm count should be between 20 million to over 200 million

 

Basically, a semen analysis test will be able to tell if the male patient is producing enough healthy sperm for conception. Shall any of the results of the factors be below expectation, the sperm may not be healthy enough to survive through conception.

 

 

Tests for Women

There are a few main tests offered for women to further assess their fertility health. The tests are Pap smear test, hormone testing/profiling and pelvic scans.

 

Pap Smear Test   Pelvic Scans

Papanicolaou test, best known as the pap test is done to detect abnormal cells around the cervix area. This test is able to detect cervical cancer, any problems with the cervix and STDs. Any of these mentioned conditions can be a hindrance to achieving pregnancy. However, do keep in mind that an abnormal pap test result does not necessarily mean you have cervix cancer, the abnormality could be due to inflammation or infections, which can still hinder your chance of pregnancy.

 

 

Pelvic ultrasound or pelvic scan is a very helpful test for fertility assessment. This test will be able to detect any physical problems or blockages with your overall reproductive structures. The uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries need to be working right in order for pregnancy to take hold. 

Your doctor will be able to evaluate your reproductive structure well being from the images produced during the scans. It is a piece of good news if the scans show no visible problem. This indicates that there is no physical obstruction within your reproductive structure that could hinder your chance of getting pregnant. On the other hand, if problems are found during the scans, your doctor may suggest extra testing to confirm your condition. It can be a worrisome matter, but rest assured that there are various treatment options viable to you.

 

Hormone Testing / Profiling

For a woman, hormones basically control every step towards achieving pregnancy. Hormones play roles in stimulating the development of the egg(s) to starting the ovulation cycle as well as, aiding in the implantation of the fertilized egg(s) in the uterus. The purpose of hormone tests for fertility assessment is to identify possible hormonal imbalances that can cease any of the above steps from not happening. 

Hormone tests are usually done through a series of blood tests, as your doctor may need to have samples of your blood during different phases of your cycle. Depending on which type of hormone is not balanced in your systems, your doctor will use the information to devise your treatment plan.

 

 

It is more important to understand your condition as best as you can through a fertility assessment. The fertility assessment result will be a great help for both you and your doctor in planning for the infertility treatment that best suits you.


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