When medically assessing the factors that may be affecting your ability to get pregnant, blood tests are one of the first tests conducted. Blood tests are an important diagnostic tool in determining what reproductive and other health problems might be hindering your chances of getting pregnant. Blood tests are also an important tool in determining causes of infertility, and can help establish the best path for you in getting pregnant.
Blood tests are used to assess your reproductive health and more specifically, the levels of hormones in your body.
The first step of blood fertility testing typically begins on the third day of your menstrual cycle. On this day, a blood test is conducted in order to assess the levels of the hormones listed below. The results will indicate whether any imbalances in these hormones may be negatively affecting your chances of getting pregnant:
- Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): a blood test will measure whether sufficient quantities of FSH are being produced by your body. FSH triggers the follicles within your ovaries to begin preparing for the release an egg. High levels of FSH are generally an indicator that egg reserves are running low, although they also signal an overall imbalance of hormones
- Luteinizing hormone (LH): lutenizing hormone controls egg development. During ovulation, levels of LH surge in order to trigger the release of the egg. Consistently high levels of this hormone in your body can prevent this increase, and might also be an indicator of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Prolactin: a blood test will also measure levels of prolactin. Prolactin is a stress hormone that is released by the pituitary gland. High levels of prolactin can prevent the release of FSH and LH. Prolactin is the hormone that also eventually stimulates the production of breast milk
On the twenty-first day of your cycle, your progesterone levels may also be tested. The body increases its production of progesterone after releasing an egg, so a test will confirm whether ovulation has taken place.
A blood test will also verify whether a sufficient level of progesterone exists in order to maintain a sufficient luteal phase. The luteal phase begins the day after ovulation and lasts 12 to 16 days, during which time progesterone levels rise in order to provide a fertile environment for the egg.
In addition, a blood test may also be conducted in order to determine whether you have any thyroid problems that might be affecting your chances of getting pregnant.
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