Fertility Q & A
What Happens During a Fertility Consultation?
When a woman has tried to become pregnant for a year without success (or 6 months if she is older than 35) she may benefit from fertility counseling and treatment. During a fertility consultation, the patient should be prepared to have a frank discussion with her doctor about her health, lifestyle and attempts to get pregnant. The doctor will want to collect information like key medical details from both would-be parents. A list of any medications, vitamins, supplements or herbs being taken will need to be provided. The patient will typically have an ultrasound and a fallopian tube x-ray to check for any physical abnormalities in the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. The doctor may order further tests if the consultation and exam indicate an issue.
What Other Tests Check Fertility?
Some of the common tests to assess a woman’s fertility include:
- Blood and urine analysis to check hormone levels and LH surges
- Basal body temperature to monitor ovulation
- Endometrial biopsies to test the uterine lining
- Ultrasounds to check for fibroids
- Pap smear to test the health of the cervix
- Laparoscopy to check ovaries and fallopian tubes for scarring or obstruction
What Causes Infertility?
It is important to keep in mind that infertility is not a female specific issue. Male and female reproductive cells contribute to conception and neither partner should blame him or herself. Women do carry and bear the child, but the role of men in conception is equally important. For a woman to be fully fertile, she must have functional ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. Conditions affecting any of these organs, like polycystic ovary syndrome, fibroids, cysts, or blocked fallopian tubes could be at fault. A woman’s age can also have an effect on her ability to conceive.
What Infertility Treatments Are Available?
The doctors at San Francisco Women’s Healthcare provide a wide variety of treatments to increase a woman’s chance of conception. Treatment is determined by the cause of the fertility issue. Our doctors may treat infertility medically with prescriptions to stimulate ovulation or to optimize the timing of ovulation. If the issue stems from an inability of the sperm to reach the egg, the doctor may suggest intrauterine insemination, where sperm is injected into the uterus while the woman is ovulating. Other treatments include assisted reproductive technology including a combination of procedures like fertility medication, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization or surrogacy. The doctors at San Francisco Women’s Healthcare work closely with their patients to help them to become pregnant, have healthy pregnancies, and safe deliveries.