Couples come into the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility after they experience difficulty conceiving. For women younger than 35, it’s appropriate to start testing for the reasons behind their infertility if they’ve had trouble achieving pregnancy for longer than a year; for women over the age of 35, we recommend beginning testing after six months of trying.
There are many reasons a couple may not be conceiving, so it’s important to determine what the cause of infertility is so that we can properly begin treating the problem.
At AZCREI, we go about testing in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. For example, we don’t perform every test on every patient; we start with one test at a time, and will move on if we cannot yet determine the cause of infertility at that stage. Most of the tests are covered by insurance, and we’re able to assess the results and pinpoint treatment options almost immediately. This saves our patients on the overall cost of infertility evaluation.
Because the idea of infertility treatment can seem daunting, here is a breakdown of our testing process that will ultimately help you determine and remedy the issues causing your infertility.
We start by asking both partners about their medical history, including any medical problems, previous surgical procedures, and if either of them has ever had children before. Once we have a thorough history, we can establish the next steps—starting with three basic tests—to determine where the fertility problem might lie.
The first test we conduct is on the woman. The goal is to determine her ovulation patterns. If we find that she isn’t ovulating regularly, we’ll perform blood tests to find out if there are hormonal problems, such as thyroid issues, that are interfering with ovulation and cycle. Then we can set out to correct those problems.
The second test is to determine if the man has normal sperm production, count, and motility. The test involves acquiring a semen specimen—sometimes more than one—so we can perform a semen analysis. If we find any abnormalities within the specimen, that will trigger more testing, such as blood test, to discover what the problem may be. Once we figure out the problem—whether it be medical or hormonal—we can often correct it, which allows them to successfully fertilize their partner’s egg.
The final set of tests helps determine if the woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes are normal. We start with an ultrasound, which is very simple and straightforward, to help us deduce if there are any abnormalities with the uterus.
We may also perform a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to check the fallopian tubes. For the HSG, we insert a catheter into the cervix and inject contrast material into the uterus, then we use an x-ray to see whether the fallopian tubes are open or if there are any blockages preventing the egg from descending. The test itself isn’t very difficult or invasive; it’s a lot like having a pap smear, and it’s often covered by insurance.
With these tests, we’re often able to determine where the problem lies and what the appropriate treatment is to remedy the issue and help the couple achieve pregnancy.
After we correct the problem, the chance of pregnancy is the same as anyone else given their age. We’ve removed the obstacle, and from here on out, they should expect the same success rate as natural conception. So while couples shouldn’t expect to get pregnant on their first try, almost 90% of patients do get pregnant within 6 months.
To schedule your appointment at AZCREI and start your testing and evaluation, call our office at (520) 326-0001 or visit us online.