Infertility Investigations

Diagnostic tests

Female: There are a number of investigations that we may perform. These include:

Blood tests: various blood tests will be performed to check your general health and any other factors that may affect your fertility.

Hysterosalpingogram: this is an x-ray to check the fallopian tubes are open to allow the sperm and egg to meet.

Pelvic ultrasound:
an ultrasound will check the anatomy within the pelvis ie: uterus, ovaries and will exclude the presence of fibroids.

Laparoscopy/Hysteroscopy:
an operation that uses a small camera to check inside the pelvis and the uterus. This requires an anaesthetic and a day stay in hospital.

Assessment/tracking cycle: blood tests and ultrasound are used over the course of a cycle to assess ovulation and the thickness of the lining of the uterus.

Male: The assessment of the male is normally limited to two tests:

Blood tests: various blood tests will be performed to assess your general health and any other factors that may affect your fertility.

Semen analysis: We will normally advise 2 – 5 days sexual abstinence prior to doing the semen analysis. The scientist will look at a number of factors in the semen and sperm. The main features that are important for fertility are sperm concentration, sperm motility and morphology (or appearance) of the sperm.

Occasionally, no sperm are observed in the ejaculated sperm sample. In these instances we may perform a testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) or testicular biopsy to identify whether sperm are being created in the testicle.

Sperm DNA: Recently it has been demonstrated that the DNA in the sperm are extremely important for fertility. Fertilisation, embryo development and the chance of an ongoing pregnancy are all related to sperm DNA integrity.

In certain instances your doctor may request that a test be performed to assess the sperm DNA integrity. This is likely to give a reasonable indication as to the likelihood of an ongoing pregnancy.
It has been found that sperm DNA can be improved by having a diet which is healthy in antioxidants.

Additionally long sexual abstinence can have a negative effect on sperm DNA. So our centre encourages men to ejaculate on a frequent basis prior to fertility treatment.

Follow-up / Review appointment

After we have the results of the diagnostic tests, you will normally be asked to make a follow-up appointment with your specialist at our centre. At this appointment all results will be reviewed and the most appropriate infertility treatments will be discussed. You will then meet with one of our fertility nurses to discuss your planned treatment.

At this stage, it may be appropriate to make an appointment with our fertility counsellor (see separate page). It may also be suggested that you make an appointment at one of the information meetings where the scientific aspects and emotional aspects of fertility treatment are discussed.