Penn Fertility Care

Female Infertility

Diagnosis and Evaluation

Diagnostic procedures can identify the causes of infertility. Sometimes, diagnosis can be easy — just a matter of conducting a few simple tests. Other times, pinpointing the cause requires time and patience. And, in some cases, no cause of infertility can be found.

A diagnostic evaluation often begins with a physical exam and a thorough health history. Afterward, the physician may further evaluate using one or more of the following methods:

  • Confirming ovulation
  • Conducting a blood test: A blood test will determine if there is normal ovulation physiology. Ovulation dysfunction can result from hormonal deficiencies, congenital defects, and age.
  • Assessing ovarian reserve: A physician evaluates the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level. A blood test is performed that can determine the number/quality of eggs remaining in a woman's ovary.
  • Measuring hormone levels: A common cause of infertility is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This syndrome is genetically linked to hormonal imbalances thereby causing a condition that prevents ovulation.
  • Performing a post-coital test: After intercourse, the cervical mucus is analyzed to see how well sperm survive in a woman's reproductive tract.
  • Taking a biopsy of the endometrium (lining of the uterus): This test further investigates problems with ovulation or hormones.

Depending on the patient's condition, additional detailed tests may be performed to determine the cause of the infertility. Penn Fertility Care understands that the process of diagnosis and treatment selection may be emotionally demanding and requires the most sympathetic of approaches, with attention to the emotional needs of the couple.