If you are wondering about your fertility and thinking to yourself, "How do I know if I am infertile," you are not alone. Knowing when to seek out additional help can make the conception journey a lot smoother than being left alone with your fears of infertility.
Women who do not get pregnant quickly often wonder if they are infertile. Although friends and family members may have tale upon tale of unplanned pregnancies or know lots of people who got pregnant on their first try, the reality is that it often takes time to reach the goal of conceiving a baby.
Questions to Ask Yourself
The average time to conceive varies for every couple. Generally, specialists do not consider a couple to be infertile until they have been trying for at least six months if they are over 35 and at least a year if they are under 35. Yet, length of time is not the only indicator you might be infertile. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I ovulate on a regular basis?
- Have I taken any drugs in the past, legal or illegal, that may be affecting my fertility today?
- Was I ever tested for sexually transmitted diseases? If so, was the test positive and did I receive proper treatment?
- Have I been diagnosed with a reproductive health problem like PCOS or endometriosis?
- What is my general health? For example, are you severely underweight or are you being treated for cancer?
If the answer was 'no' to the first question or 'yes' to any of the other questions, you may be infertile. It would be in your best interest to have fertility tests run sooner than later.
Answers on Your Own
Undergoing fertility testing can be expensive, time consuming, and stressful. Before putting yourself and your partner through the pressure of clinical tests, try doing a little research on your own.
One way for women to do this is by using a fertility monitor. It helps keep track of hormonal changes in your body, letting you know when a woman is most fertile. If you never get a peak reading, it may indicate you have fertility problems.
Both partners can test themselves at home using the Fertell Fertility Test, which boasts a 95 percent accuracy. This test measures:
- Males: Motile sperm concentration
- Females: Ovarian reserve via follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
Even if the test comes back negative, you could still be infertile due to other reasons that are not tested for in this kit.
Women: How Do I Know If I Am Infertile
Finding the answer to the hard question of infertility can sometimes prove to be a difficult journey. In fact, some couples do not end up with a definite answer and are diagnosed with unexplained infertility. But, before they get to that point, a barrage of testing is done to answer the question 'how do I know if I am infertile'.
Reasons for infertility involve a myriad of factors, so be prepared to take a lot of tests. Often, you will get a recommendation for a fertility clinic and doctor from your general practitioner. Infertility can be caused by things like previous chlamydia and steroid use, so be up front with your reproductive specialists when they ask you screening questions.
Women can be expected to go through a number of tests that might include:
- Ovulation and hormone testing: Testing is done through various methods to determine whether hormonal imbalances or ovulation issues are leading to infertility.
- Ultrasounds: An ultrasound may be performed to check the uterine lining or for cysts and fibroids that could be leading to fertility problems.
- Hysterosalpingography: This is an X-ray with fluids that are used to look at your reproductive organs, especially your fallopian tubes.
- Laparoscopic surgery: An outpatient surgical procedure where doctors manually look for blockages, ruptures, cysts, or other medical problems that could be causing infertility.
- Hysteroscopy: The uterus is expanded using gas or water and the doctor looks for irregularities using the hysteroscope.
- Endometrial biopsy: A small sample of tissue from the endometrium is taken and tested for abnormal hormone levels.
Your doctor will help determine the best route of testing based upon your medical history. To learn more about the tests listed and more, visit The American Pregnancy Association, and Fertility Today.
Infertility Testing and Men
Men should be taking charge of their fertility, too. After all, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine states that men contribute to infertility approximately 50 percent of the time.
Testing that men may encounter is usually in the form of semen analysis. Men will be asked to give one or two samples of semen, which is then tested for several factors. Not only does the count matter, but so does the amount of motile sperm and their shape.
Men's hormonal levels can also be tested via blood work. Further testing, like genetic, may be indicated after the semen analysis to check for male fertility problems. Your physician will let you know if additional testing is necessary.
Questioning your fertility is not uncommon if it has been several months and you do not have that positive pregnancy test in hand. If you have reasons to believe infertility might be a problem, schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss testing. The sooner a potential problem is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated.