Before rushing into treatment options for infertility, a thorough examination is needed to determine the cause of infertility. Infertility diagnosis involves a certain level of commitment from the couple, not only because tests could extend over several weeks but also because they involve rather uncomfortable procedures. But do be assured that at the Itoozhi Clinic for Reproductive Medicine, we treat you with the utmost sensitivity and care in keeping with the issue at hand.
There are several tests and investigations conducted, sometimes in several steps to determine the cause of infertility.
The most common tests for infertility diagnosis are:
Hormone Tests Semen Analysis Post-coital Test Physical Investigations
The levels of most of the hormones known to play a part in fertility can be checked with a simple blood test. For a woman, this test is usually carried out around the 21st day of her menstrual cycle, when the levels of hormones can indicate whether ovulation has occurred and if her ovaries are producing the necessary amount of hormones. Hormone test levels vary and an in-depth discussion with the doctor is needed, not only to understand what each hormone level means on its own, but also in combination, before proceeding. The test also helps to determine the size of a woman’s remaining egg supply and how many growing follicles she produces. In men, the test is conducted to determine the amount of testosterone produced and also the amount of other follicle stimulating hormones.
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For this test, a man is asked to refrain from ejaculating for 48 hours and then asked to deliver a sample of his semen into a sterile container. A ‘good’ test will show that he is producing enough seminal fluid, that there are more than 20 million sperm per ml, that more than 40 per cent of these are moving forward and that at least 70 per cent of them are not abnormally shaped. If the sperm count is poor, another test will probably be carried out since sperm counts can vary. If the sperms seem to ‘clump together’, further tests may be carried out to check for anti-sperm antibodies. Two additional tests may also be used: the ‘swim-up’ test, which allows the percentage of normal sperm to be established, and microscopic photography, which checks the distance that the sperms travel.
For this test, the couple is required to have intercourse around the time of ovulation, when a woman has ‘fertile’ mucus. A sample of cervical fluid is then obtained from the cervix a few hours later and checked under a microscope to see if motile sperm are present. If a large proportion of sperms are moving through, it shows that there is no ‘hostile’ reaction taking place within the woman’s body. However, if the sperms are unable to get through, this test may be followed by the sperm invasion test. A sample of the woman’s fertile cervical mucus is mixed with the man’s semen and examined under a microscope to see how far the sperm penetrate into the mucus. If they clump together and do not move forward, or if they die inside the mucus, it could be that one of the couple is producing antibodies to the sperm. In such cases, a ‘crossover’ test may be done, in which the man’s semen is combined with someone else’s mucus and the mucus is combined with someone else’s semen, determining where the problem lies. Cervical mucus can also be analysed to see if it ‘ferns’ under a microscope. Ferning is a characteristic pattern of fertile mucus and shows whether it is as stretchy as it needs to be to let sperm through.
We at Ittozhi Ayurveda, have formulated certain styles of treatment based on our years of experience. Today Itoozhi Ayurveda is one of the leading ayurvedic hospitals in India. Feel free to contact us to know more about our Ayurvedic Infertility Treatment and Reproductive medicines.