Should My Partner and I Get Tested for Infertility Even If We Don’t Plan to Start a Family Right Away?
Whether you're trying to conceive now or are planning to have kids… someday, there are many benefits to testing for infertility By testing now you can learn if you have any problems that will prevent you from getting pregnant so that they can be treated now, instead of later when you are about to start treatment and the problem may have become worse. Tests will also show if you have diminished (low) ovarian reserve and need to start trying to become pregnant now instead of waiting until later. This is what you should know.
Can you test for infertility?
You and your partner can and should get tested for potential fertility challenges, even if you're not actively trying to get pregnant. With a variety of fertility tests, your doctor can see if you have any underlying health conditions or challenges that could make it difficult to conceive now or in the future.
To start testing for infertility, your doctor will run a number of general tests. You'll undergo an overall physical exam and your doctor will ask about your family and personal health history. These can uncover:
- Potential hereditary issues
- Riskier lifestyle habits
- Previous trauma
- Other underlying health conditions that could interfere with fertility
From there, fertility tests for women typically measure:
- Antral Follicle Count (AFC) to determine your ovarian reserve
- AMH Levels, a hormonal marker of ovarian reserves
- FSH Levels to gauge the presence or absence of egg production
For women, your doctor will likely also use an ultrasound test to check the condition of your uterus and ovaries. They'll also run blood tests to check for infections and ask about your menstrual patterns to determine if there are irregularities.
For men, fertility specialists generally run a:
- Blood test to check levels of testosterone and other hormones
- Urinalysis to detect any infections
- Semen analysis to determine sperm motility, count, and quality
You can learn more about the semen analysis here.
It's important that both partners are tested. Conception can be due to challenges in either partner, but in over a third of cases, there are both male and female factors that together lead to issues.
When should we get tested for infertility?
For many people, there are benefits to getting tested for fertility issues earlier rather than later. If you're in your late 20s or early 30s, it could be helpful.
We discuss the benefits of these pre-pregnancy tests here. In general, testing can help you uncover potential issues and gives you time to reduce risks. For example, interventions may include:
- Making lifestyle changes to reduce effects of smoking, poor eating habits, body weight, and other factors on your fertility
- Undergoing procedures to treat underlying health issues, such as treating an infection, clearing a blocked vas deferens, or removing problematic uterine fibroids
- Freezing your eggs or sperm if you plan on waiting to conceive
Already trying to conceive and haven't had any success? Leading health organizations, including the CDC, recommend talking to a fertility specialist if:
- You're under the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for more than a year
- You're over the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for more than six months
Delaying fertility testing could reduce your chances of getting pregnant, especially if you're over the age of 30. Simply put, it's always a good idea to learn more about your unique fertility profile. Even if you don't uncover any issues, it gives you peace of mind.
Learn more about testing for fertility
If you're in Louisiana or our neighboring states, we invite you to contact our team at The Fertility Institute of New Orleans for more information. We can discuss the infertility tests that could help you and are happy to answer any questions you have.