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Fertility tests

3-minute read

If your doctor suspects there is a reason you have not fallen pregnant, there are a number of tests that can be done to determine your fertility and that of your partner.

Your doctor can refer you for these tests, which will usually happen in hospital or at a fertility clinic.

Sperm test

In about 2 in 5 cases, fertility problems are due to the male partner. Sometimes a lack of sperm or sperm that are not moving properly can cause a failure to conceive.

Your doctor can arrange a sperm test. The male partner will be asked to produce a sperm sample and take it for analysis, probably at your local hospital or a pathology laboratory.

Blood tests to check ovulation

Levels of hormones in a woman’s blood are closely linked to ovulation, when the ovaries release an egg into the fallopian tubes. Hormone imbalances can cause ovulation problems, and a blood test can help determine whether this is happening.

Going through a phase of not having periods, or having irregular periods, are also signs of ovulation problems. The most common cause of ovulation problems is polycystic ovary syndrome.

Test for chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection STI in Australia. It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and fertility problems. Your doctor can refer you for a test for chlamydia. This can be a urine test or a swab from the urethra (the tube from which urine passes) or the neck of the cervix.

Ultrasound scan

An ultrasound scan can be carried out to check the woman’s ovaries, womb and fallopian tubes. In a transvaginal ultrasound scan a small ultrasound probe is placed in the vagina. This scan can help doctors check the health of your ovaries and womb.

Certain conditions that can affect the womb, such as endometriosis and fibroids, can prevent pregnancy from occurring. The scan can also check for blockages in your fallopian tubes (the tubes that connect the ovaries and the womb), which may be stopping eggs from travelling along the tubes and into the womb.

X-ray of fallopian tubes

This is called a ‘hysterosalpingogram’ (HSG). Opaque dye is injected through the cervix while you have an x-ray. The dye will help your doctors to see if there are any blockages in your fallopian tubes. Blockages can prevent eggs passing down the tubes to the womb, and stop pregnancy occurring.

Laparoscopy

If you have a known pelvic problem, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or endometriosis, laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) may be done. This involves making a small cut in your abdomen so a thin tube with a camera (laparoscope) can be used to examine your womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

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Last reviewed: September 2019


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