Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Penn Fertility Care

The First Step in Getting Pregnant May Be Finding Out Why You Can't

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 miscarried two or more times. 
  • 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 at Penn Medicine can identify the causes of infertility. Sometimes, a 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.

What to Expect at a Diagnostic Evaluation

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. 
  • semen analysis may be performed to evaluate the amount and quality of a man's semen and sperm. 
Penn Fertility Care works in conjunction with the Male Fertility Program and Microsurgery Section in the Division of Urology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Penn's experts have extensive clinical experience in male infertility and have particular expertise in microsurgical reconstruction of the male reproductive tract.

Depending on the patient's condition, additional detailed tests may be performed to determine the cause of the infertility.

Learn more about infertility diagnosis and evaluation at Penn Medicine.

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