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Decoding Fertility: Insights from Testing for Conception and Beyond

Leena Shedmake
Decoding Fertility: Insights from Testing for Conception and Beyond

Fertility tests play an important role in trying to conceive and are often the first step when facing fertility issues. They help determine overall fertility status and identify any underlying problems that may be impeding natural conception. Testing is recommended for couples who have been trying to conceive without success for 6-12 months depending on factors like age.

Types of fertility tests

There are several different types of tests that can be done to analyze fertility for both women and men. Let's take a look at some of the most common ones:

Basal body temperature tracking

This involves taking your temperature every morning before getting out of bed to monitor subtle rises and falls throughout your menstrual cycle. Significant dips can indicate ovulation. While not a medical test, it provides useful data about cycle regularity.

Ovulation prediction kits

These urine tests detect luteinizing hormone (LH) surges which happen 1-2 days before ovulation. A positive result means ovulation will occur very soon. They allow couples to time intercourse for maximum chances.

Semen analysis

For men, a semen analysis examines semen volume, concentration, mobility, and shape of sperm. It evaluates the quantity and quality of the sperm being produced which can shed light on male fertility potential. Low or poor results may require further investigation.

Hormone tests

Blood tests measure reproductive hormone levels like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol (E2), and progesterone. Abnormal levels can indicate problems with ovulation, egg quality or progesterone production.


During this X-ray procedure, a radiographic contrast dye is injected through the cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes. It is used to check the shape of the uterine cavity and to see if the fallopian tubes are open or blocked. Tubal blockages can prevent fertilization.

HSG can also sometimes help diagnose conditions like fibroids, polyps or other abnormalities.


A transvaginal ultrasound exam of the uterus and ovaries occurs around days 8-14 of the menstrual cycle. It checks things like uterine lining thickness, presence or size of cysts, number of developing follicles and overall ovarian reserve. Together with hormone tests, it provides insight into ovulation and egg quality.

Postcoital test

Done a few days after intercourse, this lab exam checks the number of sperm in cervical mucus and how actively they are moving. It determines if conception is being hindered by cervical mucus factors or low sperm count/motility during intercourse.

Fertility testing - interpreting the results

Once Fertility Test is complete, results need to be evaluated comprehensively by a fertility specialist to determine if any abnormalities detected could be impacting chances of conception. They will also consider the overall picture including:

- Cycle regularity, length and characteristics

- Age which affects both female and male fertility

- Lifestyle factors like weight, diet, exercise habits, smoking and more

- Previous/current medical conditions

- Duration of time trying for pregnancy

Depending on the findings, physicians may diagnose issues like:

- Irregular or absent ovulation

- Low ovarian reserve

- Fallopian tube damage or blockage

- Low sperm count or mobility problems

- Uterine fibroids or polyps

- Endometriosis

- Pelvic infections

- Hormone imbalances

Having a diagnosis provides clarity on potential causes of infertility and guides the selection of appropriate fertility treatment options whether lifestyle changes, oral medications, surgeries or assisted reproduction techniques.

Making lifestyle adjustments before further treatment

For those coping with mild or moderately unexplained fertility issues, the doctor may recommend attempting conception naturally with targeted lifestyle modifications for 3-6 months before pursuing assisted options:

- Achieving or maintaining a healthy BMI through diet and exercise improves ovulation, sperm and implantation chances.

- Limiting caffeine intake to under 300mg daily which has been linked to subfertility.

- Quitting smoking completely. Smoking negatively impacts both male and female fertility.

- Reducing alcohol consumption to 1-2 drinks per week max.

- Limiting exposure to toxins like phthalates and BPAs through plastic product usage due to impact on hormonal balance.

- Managing stress through relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation. Chronic stress raises cortisol which interferes with fertility.

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Leena Shedmake
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