Hormone assessment (female)
The initial step in the investigation of a woman’s fertility is to establish whether or not she ovulates (produces an egg) every month. This can normally be confirmed by performing test of blood and urine to measure the level of hormones at specific stages of the woman’s cycle.
If conception is to occur simply and naturally, it is essential for a woman to have open and undamaged Fallopian tubes so that sperm and egg can meet easily. A laparoscopy involves insertion of a small telescope through the abdominal wall in order to clearly view the Fallopian tubes as well as the uterus and ovaries. The procedure is performed in the operating theatre, usually as a day-case under a general anaesthetic.
A hycosy may also be used to check whether the Fallopian tubes are blocked or not? This is an x-ray procedure involving the injection of a special dye through the cervix and into the uterus. The passage of the dye through the Fallopian tubes can be observed on the x-ray. If the dye fails to spill out through the end of the tubes, this indicates that they are blocked or that a spasm has occurred and needs further investigation.
Ultrasound scan (female)
An ultrasound scan is a non-invasive method allowing internal organs to be seen on a screen. A small probe is put inside the vagina to see uterus and both ovaries. Ultrasound is a major tool to monitor ovarian stimulation during IVF, to check patients for fibroids or ovarian cysts and also to monitor pregnancy.
A small telescope connected to a camera is inserted through the cervical canal to examine it for fibroids, endometrial polyps or adhesions. This is done either under general anaesthetic or under sedation as a day case.
Hormone assessment (male)
In cases of azoospermia, blood analysis is done to check the FSH, LH and testosterone hormones. This will tell us if there is a blockage or if there is no sperm production within the testis.
Testicular biopsy (male)
Testicular biopsy involves taking one or several small samples of the testes – either for analysis or for the recovery of sperm in the most severe cases of azoospermia for cryo preservation and use later.
Cystic Fibrosis screen (male)
Cystic Fibrosis is the commonest genetic disease amongst caucasians, 1 in 25 persons carry this defective gene. However, the incidence of Cystic Fibrosis is a lot higher in men having congenital bilateral absence of vas deferens thus justifying a systematic screening.