What are infertility tests?
Infertility tests are
done to help find out why a woman cannot become pregnant. The tests help find
whether the problem is with the man, the woman, or both. Tests usually include
a physical exam,
semen analysis, blood tests, and special procedures.
Should I be tested?
Before you have infertility
fertility awareness methods to find the best time to
become pregnant. A woman is most fertile during
ovulation and 1 to 2 days before ovulation. Some
couples find that they have been missing the most fertile days when trying to
become pregnant. A woman should keep a record of her menstrual cycle and when
she ovulates. This record will help your doctor if you decide to have
To learn more, see the topic Fertility Awareness.
tests for you or your partner if:
- There is a physical problem, such as not
being able to release sperm (ejaculate), not ovulating, or having irregular
- You are in your mid-30s or older, have not used
birth control for 6 months, and have not been able to become
- You are in your 20s or early 30s, have not used birth
control for a year or more, and have not been able to become pregnant.
How do infertility tests feel?
Some tests, such as
a semen analysis, physical exam, and blood tests, do not cause pain. But
some procedures, such as an endometrial
laparoscopy, or a
hysterosalpingogram, may cause some pain.
Do the tests cost a lot?
Infertility tests can
cost a lot and cause stress. You and your partner will need to keep track of
the frequency of sexual intercourse and talk about this with your
Before you have infertility tests, talk with your partner
about how much testing you want to do. Sometimes you may not find out what
causes infertility even after many tests. So it is important to know how many
tests you want to try.
What are the risks of infertility tests?
tests, such as semen analysis, blood tests, or an
ultrasound, do not usually cause any problems. Other
tests that are medical procedures, such as
hysteroscopy or laparoscopy, have a higher chance of
problems after the test.
Where are infertility tests done?
tests, including the physical exam, medical history, and blood tests,
can be done in your doctor’s office or clinic by an
reproductive endocrinologist. Your
family medicine physician may do some of the first
tests. Tests on a man may be done by a
urologist. Some medical procedures are done in an
What are the benefits of infertility tests?
Infertility tests may find what is causing the problem and you can
sometimes be treated during the tests. For example, a blocked
fallopian tube may be opened during a
Sometimes tests cannot find the cause of
infertility. And not all infertility problems can be treated. Infertility in men
is often less successfully treated than infertility in women. But you may still
be able to become pregnant using
assisted reproductive technology, which can treat male
or female problems.
What tests are done first?
Both partners: Medical history
Your doctor will ask questions about your
Both partners: Physical
A complete physical exam of both you
Both partners: Blood or urine
Male partner: Semen analysis
A semen analysis checks the number of sperm
Female partner: Home test
Home LH urine test kits can be used to see
What if the first tests do not find a cause?
the first tests do not find a cause for infertility, the woman may have one or
more of the following tests.
A pelvic ultrasound looks at the size and
A hysterosalpingogram is an
A sonohysterogram is an ultrasound test that
Laparoscopy is a procedure to look at a
What other tests may be done?
hysterosalpingogram, laparoscopy, or endometrial biopsy does not find a reason
for your infertility, or if your infertility treatment has been unsuccessful,
one or more of the following tests are sometimes used.
Both partners: Antibody blood
Antibody blood tests may be done to find
Both partners: Karyotype (chromosome analysis)
Male partner: Ultrasound
Ultrasound uses sound waves to make a
Male partner: Testicular biopsy
In rare cases, when men have no sperm in
Female partner: Hysteroscopy
Hysteroscopy is a procedure that looks at
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Other Places To Get Help
Other Works Consulted
- Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby.
- Practice Committee of American Society for Reproductive Medicine (2012). Diagnostic evaluation of the infertile female: An American Society for Reproductive Medicine practice committee opinion. Fertility and Sterility, 98(2): 302-307.
- Practice Committee of American Society for Reproductive Medicine (2012). Diagnostic evaluation of the infertile male: An American Society for Reproductive Medicine practice committee opinion. Fertility and Sterility, 98(2): 294-301.
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD – Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC – Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMarch 16, 2017
Current as of:
March 16, 2017