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Fertility Evaluation - What to Expect
Hyacinth Nicole Browne, MD posted:
It has been a year now and you have been trying on your own to conceive without much success. It is now time to seek help!

When going for a fertility evaluation, couples should go to the initial visit together. Each partner will be asked about their past medical and surgical histories, reproductive history, current medication use, and about their respective lifestyles (i.e. alcohol and tobacco use or toxic and infectious exposures). Being prepared to answer these questions can help your physician determine the next steps in helping you to conceive.

After the initial intake, the fertility specialist will then counsel couples about the basic components of the infertility evaluation and discuss some of the major causes of infertility. Four things that need to be ascertained in order to help couples conceive are:

1. Is sperm present and what is its quality?
2. Are the fallopian tubes open?
3. How well are the ovaries working (i.e. are there eggs present and are they the best quality eggs)?
4. Is there anything inside the uterine cavity that could affect implantation (i.e. polyp or a fibroid)?

These questions can usually determine if there is a problem that may impair or prevent pregnancy from happening and whether additional testing is required. Once a specific diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan will be made that takes into consideration the female age, the duration of infertility, past history, and the patient's wishes.

Going into the initial visit with these few pointers, should help you feel more at ease. Remember, your specialist will be with you from start to finish and hopefully will leave you feeling as though all of your expectations have been addressed.

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For more information, visit the Duke Fertility Center