What causes infertility?
Infertility is when a couple cannot conceive despite having regular unprotected sex for at least a year. 1 in 6 couples have difficulty getting pregnant. The cause varies from person to person and couple to couple. It can be related to male or female factors, or both.
Causes of infertility in women:
– damage to the fallopian tubes
– ovulatory problems
– conditions affecting the uterus
– age – female fertility declines after the age of 35
– Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
– medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy and thyroid and diseases
– lifestyle factors such as stress, being overweight or underweight, and smoking
What tests can be done to investigate the cause of infertility?
The only way to really understand what is happening with your fertility is to have comprehensive fertility tests.
Infertility tests for women
The ORT (ovarian reserve test) is performed between days 1 and 5 of the period. It involves doing a transvaginal scan and and a blood test to assess the baseline hormonal profile (E2, FSH and AMH). This is the most commonly performed fertility test for a women to help establish the extent of ovarian function.
Aqua Scan – Uterine cavity assessment
An Aqua scan is an investigation which is performed to look for uterine pathology such as polyps and fibroids. It involves passing a catheter through the neck of the womb followed by distension of the uterine cavity. 3-dimensional images of the uterine cavity are taken and assessed.
HyCoSy – Tubal patency assessment
The HyCoSy is a procedure to test the patency of the fallopian tubes. A catheter is introduced into the cervix and an ultrasound probe is then placed in the vagina. A dye is injected into the uterine cavity and its flow into the tubes is observed.
Hysteroscopy is a procedure whereby a telescope is passed into the vagina and through the cervix (entrance to the womb) to view the lining of the womb and the opening of the fallopian tubes. Polyps, fibroids and any adhesions can be removed at the same time using a Resectoscope.
Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that involves insertion of a narrow telescope-like instrument through a small incision in the belly button. This allows visualization of the abdominal and pelvic organs including the area of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. This procedure allows us to determine whether there are any defects such as scar tissue, endometriosis, fibroid tumors and other abnormalities of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
An overactive immune system may be the cause of recurrent miscarriages or implantation failures. A blood test can be done to look for the presence of immune markers.
The above infertility tests should help establish a diagnosis. This in turn would assist the specialist to find a fertility solution which is most suitable for you.