When you’re in the process of trying to conceive and having a hard time of it, chances are that eventually you’re going to find yourself talking to a reproductive endocrinologist (which loosely translates as “fertility doctor.”) Many people are at least a little bit nervous about the fertility test process, and it can help a great deal to know what to expect ahead of time. While sometimes details may differ from one couple to the next, here are some general things you can count on happening:

  • A thorough review of your medical history. Your fertility specialist is going to want to cover your medical history in great detail. Things like previous surgeries, STDs and the regularity of your menstrual cycle can all be relevant to your fertility, so make sure you go in prepared.
  • Lifestyle questions. The fertility doctor will want to know some details about your attempts at trying to conceive. She’ll ask how often you’ve been trying to conceive and when. She’ll also want to know about certain lifestyle concerns such as smoking, drinking, drug use and even your diet and exercise habits.
  • Blood tests. The first kind of testing to be done will usually be blood work. The doctor is going to check for a number of hormone levels, as well as your thyroid levels. She’ll also be testing for STDs.
  • Tests for your partner. Your partner will most likely be asked to provide a sperm sample, which will then be tested. The fertility specialist is looking for his sperm count, as well as the movement of his sperm and the health or abnormality of his sperm.
  • Ultrasound or other imaging. In some cases, your doctor may suspect that your problems with trying to conceive are related to problems with your fallopian tubes or your uterus, or even endometriosis. An ultrasound or another type of imaging test may be used in order to determine if there is something physical (as opposed to hormonal or chemical) causing problems with you trying to get pregnant.
  • An opportunity to ask questions. Make sure to take some notes along with you, and ask your fertility specialist any questions you might have. Most are more than willing to take the time to explain things, answer questions or explore possible concerns.