Health care providers evaluate men and women differently to diagnose infertility.
In evaluating a woman's fertility, a health care provider will ask specific questions about her health history. These include:1,2
Initial screening may also involve a physical exam, including a pelvic exam or pelvic ultrasound, a Pap test, and blood tests to look at overall health. The health care provider may look for signs of milk production in the breasts, which suggests a hormone imbalance, and other physical symptoms of
polycystic ovary syndrome and other conditions that affect fertility.
A health care provider may also conduct the following laboratory tests and evaluations:1,2
The evaluation of a man's fertility includes looking for signs of hormone deficiency, such as increased body fat, decreased muscle mass, and decreased facial and body hair. The evaluation also includes questions about the man's health history, including:3
A physical examination of the testes and penis allows for identification of problems, such as:1
A health care provider may also ask a man to provide a sample of semen to assess the health and quality of his sperm. To give a semen sample, the man is requested to refrain from ejaculation for around 48 hours before the test. He then provides a sample by masturbating into a cup or by having intercourse using a special condom (without contraceptive) that collects semen without affecting the sperm. A man may need to provide a semen sample on more than one occasion, because sperm production can vary over time depending on the man's current health status, activities, and stress level.
Other tests may include:1,3
How common is infertility?
What are some causes of infertility?
What is fertility preservation?
When should I consult a health care provider?
How is infertility diagnosed?
What infertility treatments are available?