What is diagnostic testing?
One form of diagnostic testing involves procedures that analyze your blood, urine, or semen. Diagnostic imaging and procedures, such as HSG (hysterosalpingography) and hysteroscopy, can also help determine the cause of your fertility challenges.
Initial diagnostic tests look for underlying health issues, like diabetes or thyroid disorders, that could be causing difficulties conceiving. Diagnostic testing also identifies conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and endometriosis, that can reduce your chances of conception.
In addition, the Gen 5 Fertility Center team runs specialized fertility tests.
What diagnostic lab testing helps identify fertility problems?
Diagnostic lab testing available at Gen 5 Fertility Center includes:
Semen analysis establishes the quantity and quality of sperm in a man’s ejaculate. It finds problems like high levels of misshapen sperm and poor sperm motility (where sperm move slowly or not at all).
Sperm DNA fragmentation testing
Men have both whole DNA strands and fragments in their sperm. However, a high level of fragmentation reduces fertility and increases the risk of miscarriage.
Hormones, such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, are vital to conception. Hormonal testing measures the levels of these and many other hormones involved in reproduction.
The ovarian reserve is the number of eggs you have in your ovaries, which decreases as you age. Measuring your anti-müllerian hormone (AMH), estradiol (a type of estrogen), and follicle-stimulating hormone levels help to determine your egg reserve.
The Gen 5 Fertility Center team performs this test after you have sex to assess the cervical mucus. They can see how healthy it is, how suitable it is for fertilization, and how well sperm functions in the mucus. This test is very rarely used anymore.
What other diagnostic testing might I need?
Diagnostic imaging tests include ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs. These produce pictures of your body’s internal organs, enabling your provider to see any abnormalities.
If diagnostic images aren’t sufficient, you might need to undergo a procedure like hysterosalpingography (HSG). That involves having a dye injected into the uterus and fallopian tubes that show up on an X-ray. The dye helps your provider identify any problems.
Another option is a hysteroscopy, where your provider inserts a flexible instrument (hysteroscope) into your vagina. A camera on the instrument’s end sends clear images of your uterus to a screen in the exam room.
To learn more about these and other types of diagnostic testing, call Gen 5 Fertility Center today or schedule a consultation online.
Hormones play a vital role in conception, so an imbalance can cause fertility challenges. Samuel Wood, MD, PhD, MA, MBA, HCLD/CC(ABB), FACOG, and his team at Gen 5 Fertility Center in San Diego, California, are experts in hormonal testing. They can identify issues with the hormones involved in reproduction and offer effective treatments. To find out more or arrange your hormonal testing, call Gen 5 Fertility Center today or go online to book an appointment.
What is hormonal testing?
Hormonal testing measures the amount of certain hormones in your blood. Hormones — chemical messengers that direct multiple bodily functions — are vital in reproduction, and an imbalance can affect your ability to conceive. Hormonal testing identifies any issues so you can receive the appropriate treatment.
The Gen 5 Fertility Center team also uses hormonal testing during infertility treatments like ovarian stimulation. These treatments involve taking supplementary oral hormone medications such as clomiphene citrate (Clomid®) or letrozole (Femara®) or injections like Gonal-F®, Follistim®, Menopur®, Cetrotide®, Ganarelix®, Ovidrel®, Pregnyl®, and Profasi®. Hormonal testing ensures the additional hormones you take are at the correct levels.
What role do hormones play in reproduction?
The most influential hormones in reproduction are:
Estrogen hormones include estriol, estradiol, and estrone. These hormones result from egg follicle growth in the ovaries and ensure the uterine lining is healthy. In men, excess estrogen can reduce fertility.
Progesterone regulates a woman’s menstrual cycle and helps her body prepare for conception and pregnancy.
The pituitary gland is in the base of your brain, behind your nose. It produces, stimulates the production of, and stores reproductive hormones like FSH and LH.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
hCG supports the normal development of eggs in the ovary and stimulates the egg’s release during ovulation by binding to LH receptors.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
LH works with FSH to regulate the menstrual cycle and ovulation. After ovulation, LH promotes progesterone production.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone. Low levels affect sperm production and lower your sex drive. High levels in women reduce fertility.
The adrenal and thyroid hormones also play a role in reproduction. Too much thyroxine disrupts the menstrual cycle, while too little can result in infertility. Excess cortisol can also affect menstruation, while high levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) could indicate you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a possible cause of infertility.
What does hormonal testing involve?
Most hormonal testing simply requires a blood sample. Your blood goes to the lab for analysis, and they send a report to your Gen 5 Fertility Center doctor.
Women typically have blood taken at specific times during their menstrual cycle. That helps determine if your hormone levels are where they should be at critical stages, which can affect ovulation.
To discover more about the role of hormonal testing or arrange a blood test, call Gen 5 Fertility Center today or book an appointment via the online form.