Skip to main content

Our Response to the Alabama IVF Ruling

«  View All Posts

Fertility Basics /
Fertility Testing

Why Fertility Testing is Essential to Your Family-Building Success

Is a fertility evaluation testing really necessary before starting treatment? Learn how it can impact your journey to pregnancy.

January 12th, 2024 | 8 min. read

By Sierra Dehmler

When you're having trouble getting pregnant, one of the first steps towards family-building success is fertility testing. Explore six reasons why these diagnostic tests are so important, and how they can help you achieve your goal of a healthy pregnancy and baby. 

In this article:

Do I really need all these fertility tests?

If you've been struggling to conceive for months or years, it can be incredibly frustrating to find out that you probably won't be able to jump straight into fertility treatment.

After taking the time to find a fertility clinic that fits your needs, schedule a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist, and have that first important discussion with your doctor and Care Team, it's only natural to want to skip to the exciting part and achieve your goals.

But there's a good reason your doctor wants you to undergo a fertility evaluation first!

When they have a comprehensive picture of your current fertility potential, hormone levels, anatomy, and other key factors, they will be much better equipped to design a personalized treatment plan, which in turn gives you the best chances of success. 

Here are six specific reasons why the diagnostic process is so critical: 

#1 Establish a Baseline

When you first seek out the help of a fertility specialist, they will carefully examine your medical history and perform a full fertility workup in order to better understand what potential roadblocks might be getting in the way of you achieving a healthy pregnancy.

By establishing a "fertility baseline" of sorts, you and your doctor can better understand where you are now and what needs to happen to get you where you want to be.

Here are some common diagnostic tests you might undergo at a fertility clinic and what information they can provide (click through for full explanations):

Day 3 Blood Work

This set of lab work measures your levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen and estradiol to help diagnose conditions like PCOS.

Day 21 Blood Work

This lab work checks your progesterone levels, which can help confirm whether or not ovulation has occurred during your menstrual cycle.

Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)

This blood work provides a peek into your approximate ovarian reserve (i.e. how many eggs you have left in relation to your biological age).

Basal Antral Follicle Count

This test is performed via transvaginal ultrasound to visually evaluate your ovarian reserve in real time. Your ultrasound technician will count each follicle (the structure that contains an egg) they see on the ultrasound monitor.

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

A short X-ray procedure used to evaluate the fallopian tubes and uterus, look for issues like fibroids, and search for other potential roadblocks to pregnancy.

Sonohysterogram (SHG)

A saline sonogram performed to evaluate uterine abnormalities, the endometrium (uterine lining) and rule out other disorders.

Transvaginal Ultrasound

This form of ultrasound is used to evaluate the vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries and can diagnose certain types of infertility (also frequently used during fertility treatment to monitor your progress).

After you become a fertility patient, you'll learn just how important each part of your cycle is. By checking your hormone levels and monitoring you at specific points in your menstrual cycle (i.e. "Day 3" or "Day 21"), we can get the best read on what's happening inside your body. 

#2 Uncover Other Diagnoses 

Here's an unfortunate truth: many people live years and years before being properly diagnosed with conditions like PCOS, endometriosis or thyroid disease.

These conditions are all common contributors to fertility struggles, and can actually prevent you from getting (and staying) pregnant if they are not well managed.

Remember the saying "You don't know what you don't know?" Well, it's true!

Diagnostic testing can help bring any underlying health conditions to light so you and your doctor can find the best way to manage your symptoms and find the proper course of treatment for your specific situation. 

With the correct diagnosis, your chances of becoming pregnant increase significantly!

Need a little hope?

After fertility testing uncovered diagnoses of endometriosis, male factor infertility, and PCOS, these fertility patients found success through IVF.

Read Their Stories

#3 Achieve Your Goals Sooner

This is one of the most important reasons for diagnostic testing. Who wants to wait longer than they have to and endure the heartache of continued fertility struggles? Not to mention spending more money on treatments that just aren't working.  

Unfortunately, without proper (and complete) diagnostic testing, it typically takes much longer to get an accurate diagnosis and begin the correct treatment protocol. Save yourself time, financial stress, and emotional turmoil by being proactive and completing your fertility testing before launching into treatment. It's worth it!

Even if you think you know what's preventing you from getting (or staying) pregnant, it's essential to get a full evaluation performed to rule out as many issues as possible. 

Note: Here at Illume Fertility, all of our patients undergo diagnostic testing before formulating a plan of action with their doctor. While some fertility clinics may let you "skip a step" or dive right in, we know how important it is to thoroughly evaluate you (and your partner, if applicable) to be sure you have the best chance of success!

#4 Understand Your Options

Timed intercourse, medicated cycles, IUI,'s a lot to take in!

While it may feel daunting at first, it's important to understand which fertility treatment pathways are right for you. Diagnostic testing is a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to finding the best fit. 

For example, you may assume that IUI is all the assistance you will need to conceive, but discover (after your HSG) that your fallopian tubes are blocked, which could be preventing you from becoming pregnant. 

Your fertility doctor and Care Team will be your best resources as you navigate your fertility treatment options and decide on a course of action. By having as much information as possible about your fertility and any potential roadblocks ahead of time, you can choose the methods and timeline that feel right to you. 

#5 Get the Right Support

Discovering you need the help of a fertility specialist in order to have a baby can be stressful and overwhelming (what an understatement).

But once you get connected with the right team of experts and start uncovering the reasons you may be having trouble conceiving, everything often begins to feel more manageable - or at least, more hopeful.

Reaching out for support - not just from a fertility clinic, but from friends, family, and the larger fertility community - is an act of courage. We know it feels scary to talk about these things, and not everyone is comfortable discussing sensitive matters like fertility struggles.

However, once you complete your diagnostic testing and know what lies ahead, you can begin to connect with others walking the same path. Many fertility patients even find that they establish lifelong friendships with others while trying to conceive.

Pssst...did you know we offer free weekly support groups, and an in-house Integrated Fertility & Wellness program right here at Illume Fertility?

#6 Feel More Empowered

Finally, diagnostic testing can help you feel more empowered and informed on your fertility journey. As the saying goes, knowledge is power! These tests give you and your Care Team as many answers as possible, which in turn informs your fertility treatment choices and overall care. 

During an experience that often leaves patients feeling out of control, it's important to take every opportunity to arm yourself with information that will help guide your fertility journey from start to finish.

Set Yourself Up for Success

As you check each test and procedure off your to do list, remember why you're doing all of this - and how each piece of the fertility puzzle fits together.

Completing your diagnostic testing is a huge accomplishment, and a big part of figuring out what support you need (both physically and emotionally) to reach your goals. Be proud of yourself for getting this far.

With answers in hand, you and your Care Team will be able to design the very best treatment plan and support network for your unique needs. You've got this!

Sierra Dehmler

Sierra Dehmler is Illume Fertility’s Content Marketing Manager - and also a fertility patient herself. Combining empathy gained on her personal journey with her professional experience in marketing and content creation, she aims to empower and support other fertility patients by demystifying the fertility treatment process.

More Fertility Resources