I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Knowledge is power." In the fertility world, understanding the testing and diagnosis process can help you advocate for yourself, understand test results, and make smarter decisions about testing and treatment.
Also, when you know what to expect during testing, you may feel less anxious about the tests themselves. There is already enough anxiety dealing with not knowing why you can't get pregnant. The last thing you need is anxiety over not knowing what the diagnosis and testing process may involve.
One way to get a better idea of what to expect is to ask your doctor. While he or she may be focused on only the very next step, that shouldn't keep you from asking about the big picture.
Something else important to keep in mind is that until fertility testing has, at the very least, checked the female partner's hormone levels, ovulation issues, and structural issues (like checking for blocked fallopian tubes), along with evaluating male fertility with a semen analysis, it's usually not smart to pursue treatment.
On the other hand, sometimes certain basic fertility tests don't need to be run. For example, if a semen analysis has found that IVF is required due to male factor infertility, it's probably not necessary to check for blocked fallopian tubes (since IVF doesn't require open tubes). This is a good reason to do a semen analysis before more invasive tests, like an HSG.
Another reason to be sure you get the testing you need before treatment -- there are doctors who will write a prescription for Clomid before basic fertility testing. While you may feel tempted to get started on treatments quickly, this isn't a smart choice. Clomid can't help you if you have blocked fallopian tubes or if your partner has low sperm counts.
More about fertility diagnosis and testing:
- What to Expect During Fertility Testing
- Coping with Fertility Testing Anxiety
- Causes of Infertility
- Blocked Fallopian Tubes
- Male Infertility
Click next to learn why male fertility testing is so important.