Penn Fertility Care

Patient Resources

Reproductive Health Information

When should you see a fertility specialist?

If you've experienced the following events, it may be time for you to schedule an appointment with an infertility specialist:

  • If you are under 35 and have been unable to conceive after a year of trying to get pregnant.
  • If you are over 35 and have been unable to conceive after 6 months of trying to get pregnant.
  • When you've lost two or more pregnancies to miscarriage.
  • When other infertility treatments have not been successful.

If you do not have regular menstrual cycles, or if you have had prior gynecological problems including endometriosis, pelvic surgery, tubal pregnancy or infections, you should seek assistance sooner.

Fertility 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. 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, your physician may further conduct additional testing using one or more of the following methods:

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 and antimullerian hormone (AMH). 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. A hysterosalpingogram or sonohysterogram may be performed to evaluate the uterus and to determine if the fallopian tubes are open. An ultrasound may be performed to evaluate the uterus and ovaries. A semen analysis may be performed to evaluate the amount and quality of a man's semen and sperm. 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.