Conceiving as a single woman: What fertility tests can I expect?
We understandably might want to avoid fertility tests that are expensive and often not covered by insurance if we don’t have proven infertility (a single woman who simply does not have ready access to a sperm partner is not usually considered infertile).
If you are under the age of 37, you might be willing to try home insemination and forego some of the expense of testing. Some Choice Moms report, however, that fertility testing did give them a measure of security. Especially if they wanted to have time to also have a second child. (Think of it this way: if you were investing in a house, you’d likely want to know if there was faulty plumbing issues that needed to be fixed first.)
The same holds true for anyone using a known sperm donor (at home use) or directed donor (friend who donates for you at a sperm bank). You might want to invest first in motility testing (as well, of course, in the safety quarantine of six months for infectious disease) before making the effort.
Women over the age of 37, when the success rate odds start to go down in general, would likely especially find it a worthwhile investment to check their fertility at a clinic before expending the time and resources in insemination.
These tests below may be done as part of a fertility evaluation or to time ovulation.
Blood FSH and Estradiol Levels: Hormones, when measured on the second or third day of a menstrual cycle, are predictive of a woman’s ovarian reserve, letting her know to what extent she is running out of viable eggs.
HSG: An x-ray study to evaluate the uterus and tubes.
Saline Sonogram: An ultrasound study to evaluate the uterus.
LH Surge Testing (urinary): This testing is done at home each morning using a morning urine sample. When an LH surge (color change) is seen, you should schedule an ultrasound or other appropriate follow-up test. When combined with an ultrasound, this is a reliable predictor of ovulation.
Ultrasound Verification of Folliculogenesis/Ovulation: This is an office procedure using a vaginal ultrasound probe. It is a painless and accurate technique for identifying proper ovulation and egg development, and is often used to time inseminations and to evaluate ovarian reserve.
Basal Body Temperatures (BBT): This daily temperature charting is less commonly done today since better and more accurate techniques for monitoring ovulation are now available. BBT however is the least expensive method.
Laparoscopy/Pelviscopy/Hysteroscopy/Tubal Dye Study: An out-patient surgical procedure which visually examines both tubes, ovaries, uterus, and pelvis. It also helps determine if one or both tubes are open. Surgical repair of adhesions (scar tissue), endometriosis, ovarian cyst(s) or other abnormalities can frequently be done at the same time in order to eliminate the need for further surgery. You are asleep for this surgery, and are normally able to return to normal activities within 2-3 days.