Infertility: Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Symptoms & Signs

The physical symptom of infertility is the inability to become pregnant.

Experiencing infertility can bring on a range of painful emotions in one or both members of the couple. In general, having at least one child already tends to soften these painful emotions.

Diagnosis & Tests

A complete medical history and physical examination of both partners is essential.

Tests may include:

For women:

  • Blood hormone levels
  • Cervical mucus to detect ovulation
  • Hysterosalpingography (HSG)
  • Pelvic ultrasound
  • Laparoscopy (especially if endometriosis is suspected)
  • Luteinizing hormone urine test (ovulation predictor kit)
  • Pelvic exam
  • Progestin challenge
  • Serum progesterone
  • Temperature first thing in the morning to check for ovulation (basal body temperature charting)

For men:

  • Semen analysis
  • Testicular biopsy (rarely done)

Pictures & Images

Pelvic laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is performed when less-invasive surgery is desired. It is also called “band-aid” surgery because only small incisions need to be made to accomodate the small surgical instruments that are used to view the abdominal contents and perform the surgery.


Review Date : 3/17/2009
Reviewed By : Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, WA; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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