Female Fertility Tests
There are numerous tests that can be done to evaluate your fertility. Some you can do yourself at home. Others will be done by your doctor or fertility specialist.
Testing At Home
- Basal Body Temperature (BBT): This involves you taking your temperature first thing in the morning, everyday, before you get out of bed. Since your body temperature rises slightly when you are ovulating, keeping track of you BBT for several months will allow you to be come more familiar with when you are ovulating. You will also be able to tell whether or not your ovulation schedule is regular. You can purchase digital basal thermometers that will measure your temperature to the nearest 1/100th of a degree. This accuracy is perfect for predicting ovulation. Some BBT thermometers even come with an ovulation chart.
- Ovulation Predictor: Similar to an at-home pregnancy test, with an ovulation predictor test, you urinate on a stick indicator that will measure the level of lutenizing hormone (LH) in your urine. This hormone increases during ovulation; thereby letting you know when you are going to ovulate. If there is no increase in the hormone, then you may have an ovulatory disorder.
- FSH Test: This at-home test can evaluate your egg supply by indicating whether you have high levels of follicle-stimulating hormone. This can be easily done on day 3 of your cyle with FSH test strips.
The OV Watch is simple to use. All you need to do is wear the watch snugly against your wrist. The watch will then detect the amount of ions released in your perspiration. Be sure to wear the watch for at least six continuous hours per day from Day 1 of your menstrual cycle. Many women prefer to wear the watch while they are sleeping. The watch will record your ion levels and, when it detects the ion surge, inform you of a number of fertile days on which you should have regular intercourse. Typically, the watch can detect four fertile days before ovulation and one fertile day after ovulation.
- Day 3 FSH Test: Done on the third day of a woman’s menstrual cycle, the Day 3 FSH test measures the level of follicle stimulating hormone in your system. High levels of FSH can lower the quality of your eggs.
- Day 3 Estradiol Test: Also done on the third day of your menstrual cycle, this blood test is done in order to evaluate the amount of estrogen in your body. Too much estrogen can affect your egg quality.
- Plasma Progesterone Level Test: This test assesses the level of progesterone in your body. Since progesterone levels increase towards the end of your cycle, this test is done just before your period begins. If your progesterone levels are low, then it is likely that there is a problem with your ovulation.
- LH and FSH Test: Evaluating the level of luteal hormone and follicle stimulating hormone in your system, this test is done for women and men. High levels of LH and FSH suggest that the fertility problems stem from a problem with the ovaries (primary ovarian failure) or testicles (primary testicular failure). Low levels of LH and FSH indicate that a disorder with the pituitary or hypothalamus is the reason for your fertility problems.
- Endometrial Biopsy: Using a small sample of endometrial tissue taken after the 21st day of your cycle, a biopsy allows your doctor to have a detailed analysis of the endometrial development. The results of the biopsy can show whether the lining is thick enough for implantation. This test is helpful for women who have experienced multiple miscarriages.
- Abdominal Ultrasound: Using a hand-held probe on top of the abdomen, high frequency sound waves are bounced off the body to produce an image. This type of ultrasound can give your specialist a general image of your pelvic health.
- Transvaginal Ultrasound: This type of ultrasound is similar to an abdominal ultrasound except that the probe is inserted into the vagina. Because the probe is much closer to the pelvic structure, a significantly clearer image is produced than in abdominal ultrasounds. Ultrasounds are often used to check how the follicles are developing during a cycle. It can also be used to diagnose fibroids or ovarian cysts.
- Sonohystogram: A variant of the usual ultrasound, a sonohystogram uses water or sterile saline to inflate your uterus. This gives your doctor a clearer view into your uterus.
- Laparoscopy: This is a surgical procedure that is done under anesthetic but on an outpatient basis. It involves using an illuminated small tube that is inserted through an incision just under your naval allowing your doctor to get a good view of your ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes from the outside. It is also possible to insert small tools into the tube thereby helping your doctor to correct any problems. It is useful in locating scar tissue, blockages, abnormalities and endometriosis.
- Hysteroscopy: Related to laparoscopy, a hysteroscopy employs a fiber optic telescope to look around the uterus. The viewing device is inserted up through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus. Again, it is possible to insert small tools into the tube to fix any problems.
- Falloposcopy: This procedure uses a similar viewing device as the ones used in laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. The telescope is inserted into the vagina, goes up through cervix and uterus, and into the fallopian tubes. Falloposcopy has been found to be effective in treating some blockage problems but more importantly, it allows a doctor to have a more accurate diagnosis, thereby giving way to a more precise treatment.
- Hysterosalpingogram: This is a special type of machine that takes an x-ray of your uterus and fallopian tubes. Before the x-ray is taken, though, a water or oil-based dye is injected into your uterus and fallopian tubes. The dye makes it easier for your doctor to identify any problems in the organs on the x-ray. This device is often used to locate blockages and other problems.