What Are the Types of Fertility Testing?

**This is not meant to be medical advice. Be sure to consult your doctor with any medical concerns. This is the account of my journey through infertility**
**This post may contain affiliate links where if you use the link to make a purchase I will make a small commission at no cost to you**

When will the fertility testing start?

Waiting for the results of all the fertility testing you just went through feels like an absolute eternity.  We had to wait about 2 months for our results appointment.

Every clinic is different and your experience may be/have been different.

To start testing, I needed to be menstruating as the blood work and ultrasound were dependent on specific days of my cycle.

The First Fertility Test Was Blood Work

When it comes to fertility testing, I hope you aren’t afraid of needles.  There are so many vials of blood drawn with the blood work.  And, don’t get me started with the vaginal ultrasounds during your periods.  Get used to being exposed and uncomfortable while you are undergoing your fertility tests.

We started with blood work that would test my Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), and Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH egg reserve). The doctor also tested my Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH).  There were other tests run, but these were the ones really focused on in our results appointment.

What exactly are they testing for in the blood work?

According to the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, FSH is one of the most important hormones in the menstrual cycle and is involved in producing mature eggs in the ovaries.

My FSH was in normal range, which is good because it means my ovaries were producing mature eggs each menstrual cycle.

The LH test looks for your egg supply.  This is also what helps determine if you are ovulating or not when you use an ovulation predictor kit.
My LH levels were normal.

Anti-Mullerian Hormone, or AMH tests your egg reserve.  It is tested in the blood work to see how many eggs a woman has left.

I had a normal egg reserve for my age.

My TSH was above 2, and the doctor put me on a low dose of Synthroid.  Apparently, your TSH levels should be below 2 to conceive, something my previous OB/GYN should have known.  If you remember from this post, my OB/GYN told me I was fine, and my TSH was 2.08Uiu/ml just above 2.  We will never know if that was enough above to make a difference or not.

Can your OB/GYN run these blood tests?

Your OB/GYN can absolutely run the blood work for fertility testing.

I know mine wouldn’t have, but this will depend on your OB/GYN and your relationship with them.

You can always start with your OB/GYN first before seeking a fertility specialist especially for the blood work.  The next steps will depend on the results.

You will have a lot of ultrasounds

I had a vaginal ultrasound (for the first time) to count how many follicles I was making.  They also checked the overall look and size of my ovaries and uterus.

All of the ultrasounds were done while menstruating.  The thought of it is more gross than it actually ended up being.

I also had no idea about vaginal ultrasounds.  Television gives you so many misleading thoughts about how things are in real life.

My ultrasound was normal.

I had another test where they placed a catheter into my cervix. With this test, it was a good thing if you had water gush out of you down there.

The doctor says my cervix presents as normal.

Go ahead and mentally prepare yourself for the HSG test.

I had to go through an Hysterosalpingogram, HSG, test.  This test was the worst.  I don’t want to scare you, but this was awful.

This test is done by a Radiologist, and a contrast dye is inserted into your uterus.  The dye fills your uterus and your fallopian tubes, so the Radiologist can see if your fallopian tubes are open or blocked.

I found it hard to relax, and I almost passed out after because of this.  If you have to have this test, do your best to relax and breathe through any possible pain.  You can always take a Motrin or Ibuprofen before the test or after.

I had no blockage, and I was told my fallopian tubes and uterus looked good and normal.

After all of this, I had another blood test to determine if I ovulated or not.  My ovulation number was an 8, and I was told I did ovulate that month.  Therefore, my ovulation was also normal.

However, I would be told later on by another doctor that I did not ovulate based on these results and another test.

How do they test fertility in men?

My husband had to have a semen analysis and blood work done.  His part was quite easy (insert pouty eye roll here).

His analysis came back normal.  We even did the sperm check you can get from the drug store, so this only confirmed those results. Here is the at home sperm check test we used.

The home sperm kit only tests for the amount of sperm. It does not test for the motility or look of the sperm.

The diagnosis

Our fertility doctor diagnosed us with “unexplained infertility”.  Basically, a made up medical term (in my opinion) for “I don’t know why you can’t get pregnant because all of these tests are normal”.  In my personal opinion, this is an absolute cop out by any doctor handing out this diagnosis.

According to the doctor, our only options were IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) or IVF (In VItro Fertilization).

Needless to say, It was like a punch in the gut.  I really didn’t want to do IVF. The injections and extra medications made uneasy. Not to mention the cost of IVF alone is unreal.  I didn’t want to do IUI because I had read more failure stories than success stories, and I thought it cost a lot of money to not work.

We left this visit with some big decisions to make.

How was your results visit?  What were you thinking before you went in? How did you feel when you left? What advice can you give others about this process?

 

If you have more questions, the website for Advance Fertility Center of Chicago does a fantastic job explaining each test, when, and how they perform them.

https://www.advancedfertility.com/evaluate.htm

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