Determining the Cause of a Couples Infertility
One of the most frequent concerns conveyed on this website involves the thought by many that their infertility evaluation, carried out attempting to uncover the “cause” of an infertility problem, may have been incomplete or may have overlooked something.
There are many valid approaches to the workup of a couple who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to become pregnant. While the angle of the approach to a fertility problem may vary from physician to physician, and from Center to Center, it is generally felt by us that there are certain “basics” to be investigated in nearly every couple with an infertility condition. These baseline studies may be slightly modified based on the initial history of the couple involved, but in general, the items presented here are considered very important to us in the study of nearly all couples.
While reading this, it is important to remember that these are generalized protocols and the studies mentioned may not be applicable to every couple. These suggestions represent the protocols in effect at our Centers, and they are not meant to indicate a suggested treatment course. You should always attempt to obtain the most qualified medical help available and work together with your health care providers to obtain the highest quality opinions about your workup. And of course remember that we remain at your service at any time should you elect to see us for an initial evaluation, for a second opinion or after failed treatment elsewhere. We specialize in reevaluating those that have not achieved success in their earlier treatment attempts.
Summary of an Infertility Workup
At the Fertility Institutes, we ask new patients to complete a very detailed medical history questionnaire prior to presenting for their first appointment. These history forms are forwarded to patients in advance to allow them adequate time to complete the forms at home and to obtain the very detailed information asked for. We include questions related to the patient, details of the pregnancy of the patient’s mother (both husband and wife), fertility histories of the patient, brothers, sisters, and immediate family members. We question very closely about lifestyles and diet, history of “health food” ingestion, vitamin history, and any history of food supplement use (herbs, etc.). Questions about possible occupational exposures to hazardous environments or chemicals and high-stress environments are included. Possible detrimental effects on fertility of all of the above have been reported. A sexual history is obtained and the correction of any misconceptions or misinformation is carried out and cleared up.
After a complete history has been obtained, we outline a detailed, intense diagnostic program to allow us to arrive at a rapid diagnosis of the underlying fertility problem.