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How to Identify if You Have a Fertility Problem

Couple fertility assessment
Most couples yearn to hear the words “congratulations, you’re pregnant”! Unfortunately, for many couples, these words may take a little longer to hear. Fertility problems are common, but it still is a taboo subject for those affected. In fact, 1 in 6 Canadian couples face fertility issues. The good news is many of these couples are able to conceive with medical intervention.

Many fertility specialists in the medical world do not offer solutions until at least one year of trying to conceive has passed. Even then, more time may be recommended before a fertility assessment is started. That being said, couples aged 35 years or older are encouraged to seek advice as the odds of conceiving increases with age.

Fertility assessment may uncover why a couple has been unsuccessful at conceiving as there are many reasons for infertility for both parties. From underlying health conditions to an imbalance of hormones, one’s infertility may be addressed and treated. For others, there may not be a reason.

Time is a virtue and fertility problems sometimes need just that, time. Other cases require the compassionate care of trained professionals in fertility clinics in Ontario.

Signs of Infertility in Women

To state the obvious, most women do not realize they may have a fertility issue until they cannot conceive after months of trying. For some women, not becoming pregnant may be accompanied with other health issues related to the ovaries and menstrual cycle. Menstrual cycle problems may include, but not be limited to, heavy bleeding, irregular or absent periods, or severe pain in the pelvic region and back.

Any of these could be connected with hormone issues. Other hormonal symptoms that may accompany an irregular menstrual cycle include weight gain, thinning hair, skin abnormalities, or appearance of hair on chest and face. A drastic change in a women’s sexual desires can also be due to infertility hormone issues.

A woman should be on guard for unrelated hormonal issues such as discharge from the nipples and severe pain during sexual intercourse.

Also Read: What To Expect At Your First Visit

Signs of Infertility in Men

As with women, infertile men may not have any signs of an issue until they are unable to start a family. While a man’s biology is very different from a woman, their hormones can also play a huge part in hindering the ability to reproduce.

Basic symptoms may be a sudden change in sex drive, irregular or incomplete ejaculations, or impotency. Changes in the testicles may also signal a condition that attributes to infertility. Be aware of any swelling, lumps, severe pain, or the appearance of firmness in the testicles.

A man’s biology may also play a part as low testosterone levels or low sperm count can indicate infertility. Family history of infertility or past health conditions in relation to the prostate or testicles may also be an indicator of a potential problem.

Useful Information to Have before Your Fertility Assessment

With or without symptoms, all is not lost. A fertility assessment can address any issues and concerns before therapy can be started. This can include tests and examination of both patients to ensure all avenues are covered. That being said, an assessment is not placing blame. It is only to help figure out what treatment may work best for a successful outcome.

Before a fertility assessment can be conducted, there are several factors to focus on and to take into consideration. Consider lifestyle factors such as any alcohol, drug, or tobacco use, exercise habits, any weight concerns, and use of prescription medications or natural vitamin remedies. A family history and personal medical conditions should also be noted. Health disorders of thyroid disease, diabetes, and any former treatments such as chemotherapy can play a role in infertility.

Fertility Tests for Women

There are specific fertility tests for each case. In other words, some women may require invasive testing such as diagnostic laparoscopy. For most women, the assessment begins with a gynecological exam and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. From there, some women may need to have various blood work taken over a one-month period to line up with particular days within their menstrual cycle to test for specific hormones.

An ultrasound is often used to search for any cysts or tumours. It will also detect if ovulation is occurring, and existence of any eggs, known as an antral follicle count. A more invasive test, known as a hysterosalpingogram, HSG, may be done to determine the uterus’ structure and ensure the fallopian tubes are not blocked. Depending on the results, a hysteroscopy may be carried out to have a deeper look inside the uterus.

In rare cases, your doctor may order an endometrial biopsy. This procedure may be performed with patients who have had miscarriages or past IVF setback experiences.

Fertility Tests for Men

The fertility assessment for a male begins much the same as for a woman with a physical exam, sexual transmitted disease testing, and blood work. The primary test is a semen analysis which examines the genetics of the sperm and assesses the presence of any immobile sperm. Some analysis results required further examination with a testicular biopsy, which is a minor surgical procedure.

Further testing may be done with an ultrasound of the scrotum and seminal vesicles, and a vasography, which is an x-ray to detect any obstructions. Hormone testing and genetic testing for abnormalities can also play a role in male fertility tests. The male patient may also need to give a sample for a post-ejaculatory urinalysis to detect any reverse ejaculation issues.

Fertility Assessment Solutions at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo is a fertility and IVF (in-vitro fertilization) clinic with a mission to provide the best-quality infertility care at each steppingstone along the way. Our patient-centred care plans are formed with an evidence-based medical compassionate approach. Learn how we focus on the needs of each person at our fertility clinic in Kitchener Waterloo. Contact us today for fertility assessment and treatment plans.


4271 King St East, Suite 200
Kitchener, ON
N2P 2X7

Working Hours

Monday-Friday: 7am-3pm
Saturday-Sunday: 8am-12pm

Contact Us

Phone: 519.650.0011
Fax: 519.650.0033