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Starting the testing process - what to do first? OPKs?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello there -


I have a 5-year-old son with whom it took us 18 months to conceive. I'm 35 and we are TTC #2 and are right around the 18 month mark yet again. Honestly, I never thought it would take us this long again. This time around, I didn't want to be as strategic and wanted to be more mellow, so honestly, we haven't been giving it our all and some months we only BD once (or we took a month off here and there). So, it's hard to know (as usual) why we haven't gotten pregnant yet - is it because we haven't tried hard enough or is there something else going on. 


Which leads me to this: last time around, we didn't do any testing. We tried (repeat: tried) to go with the flow, be patient and trust that it would happen and that we were fine and healthy. I have been in that same mindset this whole time until now, for some reason. I guess there's a part of me that thinks maybe it isn't a coincidence that it took us a while the first time around and now it's taking us a while again - maybe something is up.


I/we decided to do a SA for my DH. We get the results next week. I feel like it's an easy way to get some answers for at least one of us. If his report comes back and is off, then we can move forward (hopefully naturally) with tending to the issue. If it comes back fine, then I am wanting to get a basic workup/testing done. And, here's my question (took a while to get to it!)...


What is the basic testing for the woman? Is it a blood test where they check hormones? Are their other things to check? Do they check it at a certain time in my cycle? Where would I begin if I didn't want to get too invasive? How can they tell if I'm actually releasing an egg? My cycles are pretty regular with sometimes having a short LP. Does anyone have a suggestion for where I would begin?


If things come back fine for both DH and myself, I feel like I will at least have the peace of mind that we should just keep up the good work, knowing that everything is working. 


Oh and I'm going to try OPK this month. I feel like it will be a waste of time and money since I've charted quite a bit before and am really in tune with my body, but I feel like what they heck, let's see it I learn something new! Maybe my "surge" isn't until after my EWCM and maybe I'm a bit off on when I think I ovulate. I have a feeling I know more about my body than this OPK, but I'm at the point where I'm ready to explore my natural and easy options.


Thanks in advance for any feedback or thoughts :)

post #2 of 6

Hello!  I'm sorry the process is causing you frustration again.  I hope you get some answers soon.


When I had testing done, there were 2 rounds.  One on day 3 of my cycle and one on CD 21, 22 or 23 or about 7 days after ovulation.  On day 3 they did FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and Estradiol (a type of estrogen).  On Day 22, they did a complete blood count, progesterone, glucose, TSH (Thyroid), Prolactin, RPR (Rapid Plasma Reagin-not sure what this is), Rubella immunity, varicella zoster antibody, CMV, and chlamydia.  I'm working with a fertility office, so they probably do more tests than a regular OB would.  Day 3 and progesterone testing about 7 days after O are pretty standard.  The progesterone level confirms that you did indeed ovulate.  An ultrasound would also confirm that you are producing follicles and ovulating.  But it sounds like you can confirm that yourself based on temps.  My temps always went up regularly, but I found out that my progesterone level was a bit low.  I also had an ultrasound just to take a look at everything and an HSG to make sure my tubes were clear.  You don't necessarily need to do all of this, but it's what my doctor recommends.  It looks a bit overwhelming.

I would suggest talking to your regular care provider to see what they say.  I read the book Making Babies that combines traditional Chinese medicine with Western medical advice.  It's pretty interesting and not too intense or overwhelming.  I've also been going to acupuncture.  You might enjoy that.  It takes a more natural approach and it can be very helpful.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for your response and for laying out all that testing stuff - that is EXACTLY what I wanted to know :) Can you tell me more about what they did to make sure your tubes are clear? Was it invasive?


Thanks for the tip about acupuncture. I have been doing some acupressure based on the book "The Infertility Cure" (about Traditional Chinese Medicine's approach to fertility), but acupuncture might be in my future once I figure out what needs to be targeted.


I saw in your sig line that you are hoping for lucky #7 this month - baby dust to you and best of luck!

post #4 of 6

Thank you for the baby dust!  I need all I can get.  I'm glad my comments were helpful. 


The test to make sure the tubes are clear is called and HSG.  I won't even try to spell it.  It is somewhat invasive. They squirt dye into your uterus while they are taking an x-ray so they can watch the dye move through the uterus and into the tubes.  Then they take a picture.  It's cool to see a picture of your lady parts.  The worst part for me was that they use a balloon to open your cervix a little to get the catheter in for the dye and that causes cramping.  My doctor gave me some Valium to help me relax and she told me to take some ibuprofen beforehand.  That seemed to help.  There are many conversations on here about the test.  Women have different experiences.  I would definitely recommend something to help you relax.  I also recommend finding out how much it costs before you do it.  My insurance only covered half and it was a lot of money for us.  If your insurance doesn't cover it, you can shop around to see where it might be less expensive.  For us, it seemed like a good idea to do at the beginning because we were going to be spending a lot of money buying sperm and we wanted to know everything was ok before we did that.  You just have to weigh the pros and cons for yourself and decide.


Baby dust to you!dust.gif

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

So, when they squirt dye into your uterus (yeah, that sounds a little invasive!), are you in the stirrups with a speculum and all that? And then how does the dye get out?! I'm assuming you put on a pad and watch the color go by - but how long does that take! Does anyone worry at all about the toxicity of the dye? Of course, it's one of those pros vs. cons things :) I too would be intrigued by seeing my lady parts! 


Thanks for the tip about insurance possibly not covering a lot of it. I'm hoping not to have to go that route anyway, but good to know. And yeah, if you're spending lots of money on buying sperm, it's a good idea to know that the parts are working! The whole process of deciding which sperm to buy has got to be interesting (to say the least). A friend of mine said that she and her wife were going through the same process and were listening to audio recordings of the potential donors and this one man said something like, "My biggest pet peeve is inept people..." and both my friend and her wife (who are totally type-A, perfectionist people) were like, "Yep, sold!" and that's how they chose him!

post #6 of 6

The dye may be iodine-based.  That's what I found when I googled it anyway.  I'm not sure how toxic that is to put into your body.  It's probably not something you want to do very often.  I don't remember it really having a color.  I think it reacts to the x-rays so you can see it on the monitor but it doesn't have a color on its own.  Yes, they gave me a pad to wear afterwards and it just kind of came back out slowly. I don't recall that being inconvenient or messy.  The procedure doesn't take very long.  They do have you lie back and put in a speculum.  When I had it done, the table did not have stirrups so I had to just hold my legs in position on the table.  This part actually was quite annoying.  The table was slippery and it was hard to scoot my butt down and hold me legs up at the same time.  Hopefully, you won't need to have one.


Audio recordings of the donors--that sounds pretty interesting!  Your friends' story is very funny.  We also decided to go with personality traits first also.  We picked a guy who seemed sweet and smart and outgoing who happens to be 6 foot 4 and have red hair.  My wife is 5 foot 3 and has brown hair.  No one in our families has red hair so it would be quite a surprise if we had a redhead who towered over both of us.   Oh well!  We'll see. 

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