01 April,2023 09:27 AM IST | Mumbai | Maitrai Agarwal
Pregnancy is a different journey for everyone and the time it takes to become pregnant varies. Factors such as age, body weight, environmental factors, and stress levels affect an individual*s fertility rates. However, what can be said with certainty is that fertility challenges which are being faced by people are growing due to a number of reasons. "Most women become pregnant within a year of trying (age can play a role here), with approximately one-third becoming pregnant within a month of trying. Although, one in every seven couples face struggles to conceive, according to Dr. Gunjan Sabherwal, In vitro fertilisation (IVF) specialist at Nova IVF fertility. Elaborating on challenges, she explains, "In females, fertility challenges can be caused due to underlying conditions such as endometriosis, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), abnormalities of the ovaries, uterus or fallopian tubes. Men also face fertility issues that can be caused due to andropause, ejaculation issues, blockages in the genital tract, hormonal imbalance, etc."
Fertility tests are an essential component of reproductive health, and involve the assessment of the reproductive system, hormones, and other factors that can impact a couple*s ability to conceive according to the expert. Stressing on the importance of fertility tests, she adds, "It is extremely important for young couples, even those desiring parenthood not in the present moment but at a later stage, to have a fertility check-up done from their fertility specialist." Below, she answers important questions pertaining to fertility tests, for both men and women.
What are fertility tests?
Fertility tests are diagnostic tools used to evaluate the reproductive health of both men and women. These tests help identify underlying conditions that can affect fertility, such as hormonal imbalances, structural abnormalities, and genetic disorders. There are several types of fertility tests available, including semen analysis, ovulation testing, hysterosalpingography, and blood tests to measure hormone levels.
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Why are early fertility tests crucial?
Fertility tests are crucial because they can detect fertility issues early on, allowing couples to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. Early detection of infertility can help avoid unnecessary delays in starting a family, and it can also help in choosing the best treatment option. Fertility tests can also identify underlying health conditions that can affect pregnancy, such as thyroid disorders, diabetes, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Following are some of the most important common tests:
>> HIV test
>> Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) tests
>> Genetic test
>> Ovary test
>> Blood disorder test
>> Blood group compatibility test
These fertility tests can determine whether a couple is physically and sexually capable of conceiving in the future. In addition, they can prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if both partners are aware of their STI status before attempting to conceive.
Why is it important for women to get tested? Which tests can be done?
Fertility tests are essential for women as they provide information on their reproductive health. Tests such as ovarian reserve testing can help women understand their egg quality and quantity. This information can help women make informed decisions about when to start a family and whether to freeze their eggs. Fertility tests can also identify any structural abnormalities, such as fibroids or endometriosis that may impact fertility.
Some recommended tests could be:
>> Pap smear, which detects cervical cancer
>> Ultrasound to investigate any reproductive health issues like fibroids, ovarian cysts etc.
>> Tests for thyroid or hormonal problems
>> Tests to check levels of various hormones like progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), androgen, prolactin etc.
>> Antral follicle counts to know the number of eggs present in the ovaries.
Do men also need to get tested? Which are the recommended tests for men?
Fertility tests are equally important for men as they can identify issues that can affect their ability to conceive. Semen analysis is a common fertility test that evaluates the quantity and quality of sperm. If the results show low sperm count or poor motility, it may indicate underlying health issues that need to be addressed. Fertility tests can also identify genetic abnormalities that can impact fertility.
Some recommended tests for men could be:
>> Ultrasound to check scrotum and seminal vesicles
>> Tests to check levels of hormone like FSH, testosterone, LH, prolactin etc
>> General physical exam
How does one prepare for fertility testing?
To prepare for fertility testing, couples can take the following steps:
>> Consult their healthcare provider: Before undergoing fertility testing, it*s crucial to discuss with a healthcare provider who can advise on the most appropriate tests to take and provide explanations on the test results.
>> Pay attention to the timing of tests: Some fertility tests require precise timing, such as ovulation testing. Couples should ensure that they are aware of the timing requirements and follow the instructions carefully to ensure accurate results.
>> Prepare for the emotional impact: Fertility testing can be an emotional experience for couples, as it can bring up feelings of anxiety, fear, and frustration. It*s important to have a support system in place to deal with the emotional impact of the tests.
Also Read: Priyanka Chopra froze her eggs: All you need to know about egg freezing