Fertility Work-Up

Definition - What does Fertility Work-Up mean?

After several months of unsuccessful pregnancy attempts, many people turn to a physician for a clinical evaluation. The medical evaluation that follows is known as a fertility workup. The work-up includes all parties involved, and evaluates his or her reproductive organs, bodily procedures, and lifestyle habits to gain insight into what is preventing a healthy pregnancy from occurring.

FertilitySmarts explains Fertility Work-Up

If a woman under the age of 35 has been attempting to become pregnant for a period of one year (or 6 months for a woman over 35), she may be referred to a fertility specialist. A fertility workup is the first step in determining the barrier to successful conception. To conduct a fertility work-up, a physician will complete physical examinations of each person information on health histories, lifestyle habits, and family histories.

Moving forward, the physician will focus on the basic components of conception, namely ovulation, fallopian tube functioning, uterine health, and the quality and functioning of the sperm.

For women, a routine fertility exam includes a variety of blood tests utilized to evaluate hormone levels including E2 (estrogen), FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), and AMH (anti-Mullerian hormone). These hormones can provide insight into ovulation regularity, egg maturation, egg supply, and egg release. An ultrasound of the pelvic region to examine the uterine cavity and ovaries will be completed, along with an x-ray of the fallopian tubes and uterus to check for visible abnormalities.

Men undergo two standard tests in a fertility work-up: semen analysis, and infectious disease testing. A semen analysis is used to evaluate how many sperm are present in semen (sperm count), the quality and shape of the sperm (sperm morphology) and how well the sperm move (sperm motility). Additionally, many clinics may advise on genetic screening, which tests individuals for the presence of hereditary conditions or diseases present within their genes. This testing, while important when making decisions regarding family planning, may also indicate the existence of an issue that is causing the infertility.

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