There are many different tests to find the cause of fertility problems. They include:
- Evaluation of cervical mucus. This involves an examination of mucus production, which may be scanty and blocking the sperm.
- Postcoital tests. These occur after intercourse to evaluate the progress of sperm inside the vagina.
- Basal body temperature charting. This test checks the timing of ovulation dates.
- Hamster test. Sperm are evaluated to find out whether or not they can penetrate hamster eggs.
- Hormone assay tests. These check the sex hormone levels of the partners.
One major problem with these tests is that they all take time. If the woman is no longer young, it may be suggested that she bypass all tests and goes straight for in vitro fertilization. However, most tests are covered by much medical insurance, and in vitro fertilization often is not.
It is only natural to want to know the cause of infertility. If either partner has a tubal obstruction or corrective surgery works, the problem is cured. If the problem is with the egg or sperm, hormone therapy is highly effective. The couple can then have as many children as they wish. With in vitro fertilization, an entire new program must be undertaken each time for each new baby. No single program can guarantee success.
Research from in vitro programs shows that time is a critical factor in the choice. In’ one program, 35 women over age 40 had their eggs fertilized outside the uterus. When the fertilized eggs were returned to the uterus, only 5 women achieved pregnancy and none carried the fetus to term. Yet when these same women received eggs donated by women under age 35, 20 got pregnant and 15 delivered babies.