Archive for the ‘fertility testing’ Category

Detecting Pregnancy with HCG

woman-1209322_1920When you’re actively trying to get pregnant you’re eager to take a pregnancy test as soon as possible in order to confirm what you’ve been hoping for – a baby! But have you ever wondered just what a home or doctor administered pregnancy test is looking for? That red or blue line, plus or minus symbol indicator holds a lot of hopes and dreams, but here’s what it’s really telling you.

What that little stick is checking for is HCG – human chorionic gonadotropin. The hormone HCG is produced in the earliest stages of pregnancy. HCG is made by the placenta during pregnancy. Levels of HCG rise rapidly in the earliest days of pregnancy and usually first appears in urine 9-10 days following the estimated day of conception when using the most sensitive HCG Rapid Test.

HCG helps to maintain your pregnancy and affects the development of your baby. Levels of HCG increase steadily in the first 14 to 16 weeks following your last menstrual period, peak around the 14th week following that date, and then decrease gradually. The amount that HCG increases early in pregnancy can give information about your pregnancy and the health of your baby.

Results from the test can also help determine and monitor an abnormality of the pregnancy. For example, low HCG levels during a pregnancy can suggest an ectopic pregnancy or even miscarriage. High HCG levels can indicate twins or triplets. Not all pregnant women who test before the day of their expected period will obtain a ‘pregnant’ result. This is because urinary HCG levels may not yet be above the threshold for the test.

Fertility Testing 101: Part II

infertility testingAs discussed previously, there are many, many factors that can have effect on fertility. Tests and procedures are common to determine a cause or abnormality that may occur in the male or female. Blood tests are usually the first step accompanied by sperm analysis since these tests are the least invasive and least uncomfortable. However, other tests or procedures for infertility testing may also need to be completed. These could include:

  • Laparoscopy – This procedure requires general anesthesia and is much more invasive than other tests. A laparoscope is inserted into the abdomen and looks for endometriosis, scarring or other abnormality.
  • Endometrial Biopsy – A biopsy of the uterine lining is called an endometrial biopsy. This would be a normal procedure to determine if an embryo could be placed there. A sample of tissue is removed and examined. This procedure is definitely uncomfortable and requires painkillers.
  • Transvaginal Ultrasound Exam – This exam is an ultrasound that determines whether the follicles in the ovaries are working normally. The exam is performed 15 days before the expect menstrual period to provide accurate results.

Many of these tests can determine if a cause of infertility can be rectified or resolved or if other forms of conception may need to be considered. Some of infertility testing can be uncomfortable or even painful. These tests are determined by the physician and can accommodate to your needs.

Fertility Testing 101: Part I

fertility testingWhen discussing fertility options with your doctor many questions usually arise. The beginning is usually a physical exam, routine blood tests to measure female hormone levels, thyroid hormones, prolactin, male hormones, HIV and hepatitis. Further procedures are then usually considered. Here are a few tests and procedures that are customary in fertility testing.

  • Blood Screenings – In both men and women, Follicle-Stimulating Hormones (FSH) are measured. This controls the production of eggs in women, as well as the production of sperm in men. Both parties will have their FSH levels monitored through blood testing. Also, Luteinizing Hormone will also be measured through a blood test as this can also play into female menstrual cycle regulation, as well as male testosterone production.
  • BBT Charting – This would be basal body temperature charting. BBT including checking ovulation. It cannot always be accurate; however, it is a customary recommendation of a physician since it can be performed at home and causes no discomfort.
  • Hysterosalpinogram – A hysterosalpinogram is also known as a HSG. This procedure includes a series of x-rays taken of the fallopian tubes after a dye is injected. It can show blockages to the uterus, as well as defects.

All of these tests can help to determine fertility status. A physician will guide the patient to see which tests are necessary for each situation. Most testing can be 80% conclusive in deciding fertility of a couple.