How Science Determines If You Or Your Partner Is Infertile, According To A Fertility Specialist

Infertility. It's a painful and deeply personal word for a couple to be confronted with, and one that is wracked with emotion and grief. Most couples discover infertility only after trying to achieve pregnancy for quite awhile, and the first question they wonder is, Where exactly is the issue here? In order to treat infertility, you have to know where to begin. So for all who are wondering, "How do I know if my partner is infertile?" a reproductive expert can explain.

In an exclusive interview, Dr. Shahin Ghadir, fertility specialist and founding partner at Southern Californian Reproductive Center (SCRC), tells Romper that the only way to know is through medical tests. Since evaluating the male is generally a less involved process, most doctors will look at him first unless there is reason not to.

Ghadir explains that this entails an evaluation of the sperm called a semen analysis, which simply involves collecting a sperm sample in a cup. The results, says Ghadir, "will give us information about the sperm count, how well the sperm are swimming, and how perfect the sperm look. All of these are important in assessing the well-being of the sperm."

The female side however, Ghadir explains, is more complex. "First there is an evaluation of the fallopian tubes and uterus, called an hysterosalpingogram, or HSG. The HSG is done under an X-ray machine and immediately lets you know if the tubes are blocked or if the uterus has a problem." If all is clear from the HSG, an evaluation would be done of the woman's hormone levels on day two or three of her period, checking her reserve of eggs. Additionally, Ghadir notes, there are other hormones to check that may be indirectly related to a woman's fertility, such as the thyroid.

Whether the infertility is posing a challenge through your physical side or your partner's, it's important to remember that you're in this together. Rather than seeing it as one person's personal battle, infertility can be an opportunity to strengthen your commitment to one another and give you a chance to both give and take valuable emotional support. And at the end of it, just think, you'll be more in love with your child's mother or father than you ever could have dreamed.