Work Up of Female Infertility

Female Fertility Workup

What is Female Infertility?

Female infertility is a condition in which due to some underlying health conditions, a woman isn’t able to conceive naturally. In this condition, it is said that a female is infertile when she is not able to get pregnant naturally after trying for a year or more. There could be various reasons behind infertility in women like insulin resistance, obesity, PCOD/PCOS, endometriosis, etc. The exact female infertility problem is diagnosed through workup tests that are done by a fertility specialist.

These tests will include some information about your medical history, some physical examination, other function tests, etc. All these tests will rule out if there is an underlying condition that has caused infertility issues.

Everything You Need to Know About Female Infertility Workup

Work Up of Female Infertility | Steps | Result

Work Up of Female Infertility

In the last few years, the importance of fertility workup has risen. A fertility workup is like an infertility evaluation of a female or a male that includes certain tests that tell us about their health.

The need for infertility workup comes in when the couple has been trying to have a child for a long time but isn’t getting successful at it. It is said that a couple may have some fertility issues if there is a continuous failure in conceiving after trying for over one year with unprotected intercourse.

If the female is over 35 years, they preferably immediately require this evaluation or maximum after waiting for 6 months This will tell us about the exact infertility problem that is affecting the couple and causing problems.

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Steps of Infertility workup for a female:

The essential elements of an initial infertility workup include three major steps like medical history, physical examination, and other investigations.

Steps 1: Medical History

  • Duration of infertility
  • Menstrual history regarding regularity and flow.
  • Information about any previous pregnancy, delivery, or miscarriages is important. Poor outcomes in previous pregnancies are important.
  • Previous surgeries or illnesses as endometriosis, cyst surgery, pelvic infections, tuberculosis, etc. are significant details.
  • If suffering from any medical disorders like thyroid, diabetes, hypertension need evaluation.
  • Any genetic illnesses in the family as cystic fibrosis, thalassaemia etc. Are important to know.
  • Frequency of intercourse and any difficulty in it.
  • Use of alcohol, smoking, or any drugs.

Steps 2: Physical Examination

Physical examination is done to see some physical indications in order to rule out any fertility issue. For physical examination, your doctor will examine various things like:

  • Pelvic Examination: Your doctor will perform a vaginal or pelvic examination to inspect the cervix and look out for any sores, discharge or infections.
  • Hair growth on face and body: Unusual growth of hair on the face and the body may indicate the excess male hormones in the body that result in infertility problems.
  • Breast Examination: Your doctor may also examine the shape and size of the breast. He may do other examinations that may rule out certain things.
  • Other examinations: A targeted physical examination is done with special attention to weight (BMI) pulse, blood pressure, thyroid, signs of androgen excess as hirsutism, acne, pap smear, etc.

Steps 3: Investigation

Investigations in infertility workup include laboratory and imaging tests which form the cornerstone for establishing the cause of infertility. These investigations for the female partner will focus on evaluating ovarian reserve, ovulatory function, and structural abnormalities. These tests will give different results and indicate different things like:

1. Ovarian Reserve

Ovarian Reserve tells us the number of useful eggs in the ovaries that have the potential to fertilize. This test is done with a blood investigation called the Anti-Mullerian Hormone. Also, a transvaginal scan is also done for Antral follicular count. Now, after the result, Ovarian reserve is said to be poor if:

  • The AMH level is less than 1 ng/ml
  • The antral follicle is low and counts less than 5–7 (follicles 2-10 mm) in both the ovaries.
  • The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is greater than 10 IU/L.
  • A history of poor response to IVF stimulation, which is getting fewer than four oocytes at the time of egg retrieval.

2. Ovulatory Dysfunction

Ovulatory dysfunction estimates for a significant proportion of female infertility in which the woman has disturbed ovulation or no ovulation. To examine this issue, various tests are done:

  • Midluteal (Day 21) measurement of serum progesterone.
  • Follicular monitoring and Ovulation studies: Sequential Ultrasounds are performed to detect the development of follicles and their release.
  • Thyroid disease and hyperprolactinemia can cause ovulatory dysfunction, hence a measurement of Thyroid-stimulating hormone and serum prolactin levels is also done.

3. Tubal Factor

Tubal factor examination is done to assess whether the fallopian tubes are open or blocked. This is done by:

  • Hysterosalpingography (HSG): A procedure used to view the uterus and fallopian tubes by injecting radiopaque dye contrast through the cervix. We can see whether tubes are open or blocked with this procedure.
  • Sonosalpingography: It is the ultra-sonographically visualization of the uterus and adnexa with the infusion of fluid through a transcervical canal.

4. Uterine Factor

Uterine factors that may cause infertility issues include endometrial polyps, uterine adhesions, uterine anomalies, and fibroids. These uterine problems cause difficulties in conceiving. These issues are detected by:

  • Transvaginal ultrasonography: It aids in the detection of the fibroids, their size, number, and location. Using three-dimensional ultrasonography improves detection of müllerian anomalies (abnormalities in the shape of the uterus) and cavity distorting fibroids.
  • Sonohysterography: The uterine cavity usually is easily defined, and abnormalities like endometrial polyps, submucosal fibroids, and intrauterine adhesions can be easily seen with the help of Sonohysterography.
  • Hysteroscopy: It is direct visualization of the uterine cavity and provides the most definitive method for diagnosis of endometrial polyps, uterine synechiae, and submucosal fibroids. Hysteroscopy is a procedure that is not commonly used for the initial evaluation of infertile women because of its cost and access considerations. Hysteroscopy indicates to confirm and treat intracavitary lesions detected by the other imaging modalities.
  • Three-dimensional ultrasonography and Magnetic resonance imaging and provide a more accurate definition of müllerian anomalies.

Other specialized Investigation

In certain special situations, the clinician may ask for specialized tests like:

  • Karyotyping and Genetic testing
  • Antiphospholipid Antibody testing
  • Thrombophilia testing

Results

After all the physical examination and other investigation tests, your doctor will be able to tell you the exact infertility problem you or your partner is suffering from. Once the infertility problem is diagnosed, your doctor can suggest the best treatment. In 20% percent of the cases, the cause of infertility cannot be ascertained and it is known as unexplained infertility.

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Abhishek Parashar

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Hi, I and my wife Garima got married in 2013, and it's been 7.5 years since we had no children. We went to three-four doctors before visiting Gunjan IVF world. Then we went to Gunjan IVF center, where Doctor Gunjan ma’am guided us so friendly and she advised us to go for IVF. With their positive hands, we cracked in the first go and now we are blessed with twins. Especially, the team is too very cooperative they give you an environment which makes you feel very positive and comforting

Rohit Krishna Gupta

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We started the treatment with Dr. Gunjan in the year 2018 when my wife had an ectopic pregnancy. The key thing in this relationship was that we trusted the doctor blindly and the doctor also put their best efforts to help us in getting the good news. Hope everything will go positively. Thank you, doctor. Last but not least, Mr. Gaurav, the COO of Dr. Gunjan Hospital, is the biggest reason to have this long association with the doctor and the treatment. Always got positive thoughts and suggestions from him and they helped a lot. Thank you, Gaurav Ji.

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