What are these tests for?

Marci explains:
HSG is a test to determine whether your falopian tubes are open. This is obviously important because you can't get pregnant if the eggs can't come in contact with the sperm and the falopian tubes are how they reach each other!

The test consists of a catheter inserted into the cervix and an opaque dye is flushed through into the uterus and tubes. The doctor then takes an XRay of your abdomen. The opaque dye flows through the open areas of your tubes, blocking light and making the XRay dark. If the entire outline of your tubes is visible, then your tubes are open. If there is a gap in the dark lines of your tubes, the dye couldn't get through there and there is a blockage of some sort.

The procedure is relatively painless, although some cramping and bleeding is not uncommon after the procedure. The recommendation is to take ibuprofen about 30 minutes before the procedure to reduce discomfort.

Some women become preganant in the cycles immediately following an HSG because the procedure "cleans out" your tubes, so if something was blocking them that got flushed away you can get pregnant.

An Endometrial Biopsy is used to analyze the uterine lining just prior to menstruation to determine if the progesterone levels in the system are suitable to maintain a pregnancy.

A small catheter is inserted into the cervix and a sample of the uterine lining is gathered. This sample is analyzed under a microscope. If the lining is not suitable your doctor may recommend progesterone supplementation to aid in conception or sustaining a pregnancy.

A post coital test is used to determine whether a woman's cervical mucus is hospitable to sperm. The doctor will tell you to have intercourse within 6-8 hours of the test. Then, the doctor will collect a sample of your mucus/sperm and look at it under a microscope. Hospitable mucus will exhibit a "ferning" pattern on the slide and the doctor should be able to see health sperm as well. Inhospitable mucus usually clumps and locks in the sperm.

This test is important because if your mucus is not suitable for the sperm to travel through it then the sperm get stuck and can't reach the egg to fertilize it. This test is particularly important for women taking Clomid to aid in ovulation, since Clomid often dries out a woman's mucus and it's important to know this so that appropriate measures can be taken to insure the sperm reaches the Clomid-released eggs.



Ladies' Experiences

Kim tells us about her experience:
My doctor suggested an Endometrial Biopsy after I had been trying for 8 cycles with charting. The procedure usually isn't too bad, but my cervix ran away and they had to clamp it, twist it, and pull it down. This was the most painful thing I ever experienced (and I had a bad appendix before), and I was unprepared and unmedicated. The procedure itself is simple, but the clamping was awful. Basically, the doctor took a tube and put it through the cervix and into the uterus to get a sample of the wall. This checks not only for endometriosis (since I had no symptoms of this), but also for short luteal phases. It should be done as close to your period as possible, but cannot be done during your period. I had already had the blood tests before checking progesterone and such, and this was the next step. For those that have painful paps and such, take Moltrin before. I did have A LOT of swelling after; my cervix was right at the base of my opening.

The HSG is supposed to be a lot worse, but for me it was better because my doctor prescribed percocet and 800mg of Moltrin to take 1/2 an hour before. This is done in radiology and is used to check the tubes. My doctor ordered it at the 8 month mark, but I postponed it until cycle 12. I just had it today, and here I am typing, so it can't be too bad.
They place a catheter into the cervix and shoot a colored dye through your tubes while the radiologist does an ultrasound to see if it is passing through. Besides checking the tubes, many books and my doctor claim that it clears the tubes (like a tube douche) and many women get pregnant in the next couple of months because it increases the ease of flow for sperm.

There is a lot of controversy on the PCT (postcoital test) which tests your CF after intercourse to see if the sperm live or if you have a hostile environment. My doctor doesn't believe in this because it is rare and there is no treatment for it. The books I read all have different opinions on this test, so if you have one and fail it, don't get too disheartened. This is the only nonsurgical test I haven't had at this point. Now I'm going to stop poking with my body!