So many vials of blood for infertility testing

On goes the journey. Our journey to a healthy pregnancy. This post will go over all the initial infertility testing we had to do after seeing the fertility doctor. He really put us to task and it took a lot of coordinating and organizing to get everything done.

But what don’t you do for your future children!

See more about our infertility journey here: Infertility-Reducing the Stigma

When you’re focusing on getting pregnant, there are a lot of different tests. You can’t do them whenever you’d like, it’s all dependant on certain days during the woman’s cycle. So, it requires quite a bit of planning.

Just FYI, CD means “cycle day” with CD 1 being the first day of the woman’s period.

Infertility testing. Everything you need to know

Our Infertility Testing To-Do List

At the appointment with the fertility doctor, we mostly talked about our health and pregnancy history. Then he ordered a bunch of blood work and ultrasounds, which was all standard procedure.

Every doctor will recommend different tests based on what your issues are. This list encompasses what our doctor recommended for our case.

Here is what we had to do!

1. Call and book appointments for an ultrasound and sonohystogram on CD 1.

They are both ultrasounds of the uterus and ovaries, but a sonohystogram involves squirting water into your uterus and then performing a transvaginal ultrasound for a more detailed picture.

For example, professionals can see whether your fallopian tubes are open or not. Which in turn gives them info on whether the egg can make it out of the ovaries. These ultrasounds have to happen between CD 5 and CD 11.

2. Go for blood work on CD 3.

This is for all the prenatal workup for myself and my husband. The reason it’s done on CD 3 is that they are testing for a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which gives them an idea of my ovarian reserve, basically, if I still have a batch of good eggs left or not.

This hormone is at its peak around CD 3.

Oh my gosh, all the blood work!

They took about twelve vials of blood from me in total. I’m still not sure about all the tests that were performed. A lot of it was routine prenatal blood work like my blood type, etc. But they were also testing for autoimmune disorders and other things that can affect my fertility.

Most of the tests were free, although I think I paid for one or two. In total it wasn’t a lot of money.

3. Go for blood work on CD 21.

This result will tell us whether or not I ovulated this cycle. This test checks the level of a hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH), it’s basically higher if I did ovulate.

4. Figure out when to deposit the sample

Yes, The Sperm Sample. He must not abstain from releasing his sample for more than five days but has to abstain for two days.

Read that last sentence a couple of times to fully grasp the timeline!

Oh, and we have to book an appointment to it drop off because they only want one sample at a time in their lab.

Also, it has to be less than an hour old when we drop it off (we live an hour and a half away). This is because the sample has to stay at body temperature. Which is not easy in the winter in Canada! Lots of logistics to figure out.

I actually thought there would be a little room at the fertility clinic with magazines or videos, tissues and lube, but apparently, that’s just in the movies.

They check the sperm for a bunch of different things like sperm count, motility, mobility and shape.

5. Go to the pharmacy and pick up antibiotics

I have to take these two days before the sonohystogram. This is to prevent infection from the procedure.

6. Call the fertility clinic

To book an appointment for a follow-up to get the results of all the infertility tests.

Everything you needed to know about initial fertility testing

More Infertility Testing: The Ultrasound

The purpose of this ultrasound is to check the anatomy of the uterus and see if there is any scarring etc.

The ultrasound wasn’t too bad, it was done between CD 5 and CD 11.

I had to hold my urine for one hour before the test and to drink two litres of fluids beforehand. My bladder fills so fast! It was not an easy drive.

Even the ultrasound tech said that my bladder was really full, and you can totally feel it when they are pressing on your belly with the probe. They did a normal ultrasound on my belly and a transvaginal one as well.

The worst part about it reminded me of our last ultrasound when we found out the baby didn’t have a heartbeat anymore. Other than that, it was pretty straightforward.

I asked the tech why I couldn’t do both the ultrasound and sonohystogram on the same day and he said it was because sometimes they find out that the woman is pregnant on the ultrasound and then the sonohystogram is cancelled.

This is because it shouldn’t be done during pregnancy due to it potentially causing an unwanted abortion.

Once the ultrasound was done I was able to book the sonohystogram a few days later.

More Infertility Testing: The Sonohystogram

This test was so much easier than I anticipated. It was basically as quick and easy as a routine pap smear. No one likes pelvic exams, and when it involves manipulating your cervix in any way, it can be intimidating.

Girls, you know what I’m talking about!

First, they did a quick transvaginal ultrasound exam. Then the transducer was removed.

A speculum was placed in my vagina and the doctor passed a swab through the speculum to clean the cervix.

Next, a thin tube was inserted into my vagina and placed in the opening of the cervix or inside the uterus. Then the speculum was removed completely.

The ultrasound transducer was then placed back in my vagina. A sterile fluid was slowly passed through the tube. This can sometimes cause some cramping, but I didn’t feel any. While they pass the fluid into your uterus they are watching the ultrasound screen to see if they can see any obvious abnormalities.

At the end they removed everything and I was good to go. The whole thing took at most five minutes and I was out of there very quickly.

Bring a pad with you because afterwards there will be some liquid leaking out. And my doctor recommended ibuprofen and Tylenol before the procedure to reduce the pain if I had any cramping after.

Oh, and the doc told me I have a great looking uterus (but of course!)

That was our basic experience. Lots of things to do, but it will be worth it to know whether everything is functioning as it should!

Everything you need to know about fertility testing

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About the Author

Hanna is passionate nurse and mama of four babies. Parenthood can be hard, but you don't have to do it alone. Hanna is here for you from pregnancy, to birth and beyond!

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