Female fertility testing

Female fertility testing

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What are female fertility tests?

Female fertility clinical analysis tests refer to the set of tests that are performed to discover the possible cause of infertility in women. The tests consist of several parts: FSH and E2, Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH), TSH and Prolactin test. However, there is no single method for performing these tests. It depends on the patient’s medical history, which a professional will analyze in order to recommend the best method.

This evaluation is performed when a woman has not become pregnant after 12 months of unprotected and regular sexual intercourse. However, there are cases in which it is advisable to perform the tests earlier, specifically 6 months earlier, if these circumstances are present:

  • Women over 35 years of age.
  • Women with irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Known or suspected problems with the uterus, tubes or other problems in the abdominal cavity (for example, endometriosis).
  • Male infertility.

The last item on the list refers to male infertility because, in female fertility testing, the couple must also be tested in order to detect the cause of infertility. The least invasive methods will be the ones to be performed first, and one should proceed in a cost-effective and focused manner in order to deliver the results without complications. In addition, certain factors have to be taken into account, such as the woman’s age, the couple’s preferences, the duration of infertility, personal clinical characteristics and physical examination.

What tests are included in a female fertility workup?

The following tests are usually recommended during a female fertility test:

  • Karyotype study. This test is used to look for possible alterations in the structure or number of chromosomes causing infertility. A karyotype is the set of chromosomes per cell, where the genetic material is found. The human being is made up of 46 chromosomes, 22 non-sex chromosomes (autosomes) and 2 sex chromosomes (XX for women and XY for men). This test is recommended in cases of implantation failure or repeated miscarriage.
  • Ovarian reserve tests. This study is used to determine whether the woman being tested can produce 1 or more quality eggs and whether her ovaries respond correctly to hormonal signals from her brain. To do this, a blood test for follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), serum 17-BETA ESTRADIOL [E2][E2] and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is performed.
  • Other blood tests. Analysis of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and prolactin levels can be used to detect infertility problems, as thyroid disorders and hyperprolactinemia can cause menstrual irregularities and miscarriages.

What do female fertility tests consist of?

A gynecological examination will be the first step to begin female fertility testing. It will assess the state of the ovaries and uterus. This will be followed by a hormone analysis. This step, and most of the following tests, are usually similar for most women. However, as mentioned above, much depends on the patient.

The hormone analysis should be performed between days 3-5 of the hormonal cycle in order to be able to extract a result from the analysis, in which the values of the hormones FSH, LH, estradiol, AMH, prolactin and progesterone will be evaluated. For the latter hormone, you can go to the doctor for blood collection on any day, within or outside the hormonal cycle.

It is increasingly common, at the first consultation, to ask for a karyotype test. In this way it is possible to confirm or rule out whether the pregnancy may be affected by genetic alterations. For this, some additional medical tests would be requested.

Where can they be done?

Depending on the type of female fertility test to be performed, the patient should go to a specific specialist. Most tests can be done at an assisted reproduction center or fertility clinic, so if a complete analysis is desired, this would be the best option.

On the other hand, if the tests are requested by a gynecologist, the patient will most likely be referred to a clinical analysis center. There she would undergo a hormone and karyotype analysis. If it is a hysterosalpingography that needs to be performed, the patient would have to go to a diagnostic imaging center.

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