Sterility study: when should it be performed and what will be tested

Sterility is defined as the inability to achieve a spontaneous pregnancy, without contraception, in less than one year from the beginning of sexual intercourse. In contrast, infertility is considered when a pregnancy does not go to term.

A study of infertility should be started when 6 months have passed, in the case of women over 35 years of age. The “age factor” in women is very important, since the fertility rate is at its highest at about 25 years of age and decreases sharply at 35, and it is considered that, at 40 years of age, sterility is around 65-70%. If it is suspected or the woman does not have a male partner, the study can be started earlier. It is essential, however, that the study be performed on both members of the couple.

Objectives of the sterility study

Every sterility study has several objectives:

  • Analyze and confirm the patient’s ovarian reserve.
  • Rule out a tubo-peritoneal factor.
  • To carry out a seminal study to evaluate the concentration, morphology, vitality and motility of the spermatozoa.

What does an infertility study include?

The clinical history is the basic piece in any medical procedure. It will begin with an interview carried out by the specialist in Assisted Reproduction, with the aim of finding out the family, reproductive and personal history of both members of the couple.

Specifically, he/she will emphasize those aspects that could be related to your fertility. Thus, it should include: duration of infertility, menstrual history, history of pregnancy and/or abortion, updated cytology, contraceptive methods previously taken, frequency of intercourse (or dysfunction in case there is any), serious diseases, previous surgeries or possible injuries.

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In addition, a physical study of the woman will also be performed, including her weight, blood pressure, body mass index, vaginal, pelvic or cervical abnormalities, as well as an analysis of the uterus, its size, shape and position.

The man will be evaluated by a specialist in Urology and, in addition to a physical examination, an examination of the genitalia will be performed: penis, location of the urethral meatus, palpation and measurement of the testicles, presence or absence of varicocele, or the presence and consistency of the vessels and epididymides.

A blood test including serology for Hepatitis B and C, HIV and, in women, the immune status for toxoplasma and rubella should also be checked.