Advertisement

How is female infertility diagnosed?

Dr. Lawrence Grunfeld, MD
Fertility Specialist

A post-coital test is a quick, painless procedure that can give information about how the cervical mucus and sperm interact. During the test, a speculum is placed in the vagina, as it would be for a pap smear. A syringe without a needle is used to remove some mucus from the cervical opening. The speculum is then removed, and the cervical mucus is evaluated. The specimen is placed under a microscope to look for the presence or absence of swimming sperm.

The test must be done within two days of ovulation (either before or after). Basal body temperature charts or ovulation predicting kits are very helpful in determining the time of ovulation. A couple should abstain from intercourse for 2 days before ovulation and then have intercourse 2-8 hours prior to the office visit for the post-coital test.

Dr. Tanmoy Mukherjee, MD
Fertility Specialist

One method of evaluation in diagnosing female infertility is a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). Although most women report only minor cramping and short-term discomfort during this procedure, some women, especially those who have blocked tubes, report intense pain. Speak to your doctor about taking a pain medication about 30 minutes prior to the actual procedure.

Some women have trouble conceiving and some women can get pregnant but have trouble maintaining that pregnancy. If a woman attempts to get pregnant for more than a year and is unsuccessful or has repeated miscarriages then she will receive the diagnosis of infertility.

Diagnosing the cause of the infertility may take a few months. It will begin with a pelvic exam, complete medical and menstrual history, and a look at lifestyle issues including history of smoking and drug and alcohol use. The next step might be blood work to test the woman's hormone levels and an ultrasound to view the ovaries and uterus. She will also be asked to check for the date of ovulation by using an ovulation testing kit. In addition, the woman will check her bodily temperature and her cervical mucus daily.

The next step in the process would be to look at the women's fallopian tubes to be sure they are patent. This is done by a test called a hysterosalpingogram. If necessary, the doctor may also perform a laparoscopy to check the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. The physician will also check to be sure there are not any fibroids which may prevent pregnancy.

Continue Learning about Female Infertility

Are men or women more prone to infertility?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
Infertility is defined as being unable to become pregnant after 12 months of regular unprotected int...
More Answers
What is uterine factor infertility?
Grant L. Campbell, MDGrant L. Campbell, MD
Uterine factor is an infrequent (5%) cause of infertility. Causes of uterine factor include uter...
More Answers
Can Years of Birth Control Use (8 to 10 Years) Lead to Infertility?
Can Years of Birth Control Use (8 to 10 Years) Lead to Infertility?
What Health Risks Are Associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
What Health Risks Are Associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.