If you have been trying to conceive for at least one year without success, you should consult your gynecologist to determine if you have an infertility problem. Women 35 and older should make an appointment sooner—after 6 months not being able to conceive—to get started on the process more quickly.
Your doctor will do a pelvic exam to make sure that you do not have any obvious infections in your internal female organs. He or she will also obtain blood tests for female hormones that, when abnormal, may indicate that you are not ovulating regularly. These hormones include follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Thyroid hormone also controls ovulation, so you will probably be tested for abnormal levels of this hormone. Women 35 years and older who are having trouble conceiving may undergo a special test of FSH levels three days after their menstrual period starts. This additional test helps determine how likely it is that an individual woman might respond to certain hormone treatments used in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process.
You will probably also undergo a procedure, a hysterosalpingogram, that will allow your doctor to determine if you have any blockages in your tubes or scarring in your uterus that could cause trouble conceiving. To do this procedure, your doctor inserts some dye into your uterus through your cervix and then takes some x-rays. If the dye does not pass through your tubes and uterus easily, you may have some blockages in your reproductive tract. This procedure is a little uncomfortable, but it can be done in the doctor's office and it only takes about 15 minutes. Some women will also have an ultrasound in order for the doctor to take a closer look at their reproductive tract.
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