If you’re worried that it’s taking you too long to conceive, it makes sense to ask for tests. First your doctor and then, if necessary, a specialist clinic can check out different aspects of your fertility.
You can ask as soon as you like – but your GP may well tell you to wait, if you’ve only been trying for a baby for a few months. If you’re over 35 you may be offered tests sooner (and if you’re well over 35, it’s definitely worth asking for tests, as you may be quite a lot less fertile than you used to be). If you’ve had any kind of illness or treatment in the past that can affect your fertility, it’s also a good idea to see if you can be checked out. Otherwise, your GP may well expect you to wait for around a year.
At the GP surgery, you should be able to get blood tests to check the hormone levels in your blood stream. One test can establish whether you’re ovulating (which is obviously essential if you’re going to get pregnant). Another checks whether you are producing the right levels of hormones to get pregnant – and how far you’re heading towards the menopause. You can get a blood test to check for German measles as well, and a urine test to check for chlamydia (which often doesn’t show any symptoms but can damage your fertility). And if you haven’t had a smear test recently, you can have one of those too.
It’s not guaranteed that your GP will refer you immediately to a clinic – if your tests come back ‘normal’ and you’re still relatively young, you may be told to ‘keep trying’. On the other hand, you may get a referral quickly, or of course decide to go privately.
At a specialist fertility clinic, or the fertility specialists at your hospital, there’s a whole range of more detailed tests you can have. They include X rays, ultrasound scans and other examinations, to check out how your uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are all working.
Definitely. You’re only going to get half the picture if you go on your own. Again, there is a range of different tests available – most of them looking at the number of sperm he’s producing, and their quality too.