Does a Pap Smear Detect if I’m Fertile or Infertile?
No, there is no single test to detect female infertility and the same is true for male infertility. A pelvic exam is an integral part of evaluating your fertility, in addition to a Pap smear. Physicians use the Pap smear to identify changes in the cells of the cervix which could indicate conditions that may interfere with getting pregnant.
Pap smears do not diagnose cancer but detect 95% of cervical cancers at a stage that cannot be seen by the naked eye. They can then be targeted for treatment and most often cured.
Pap smears do not test for sexually transmitted diseases but can detect abnormal cells which would need to be further tested to diagnose a disease.
The American Cancer Society has set recommendations regarding guidelines for Pap smear screenings. They recommend that all women get a Pap smear beginning at age 21. Recent changes to testing guidelines have removed the need for anyone under the age of 21 to be tested, regardless of sexual activity. Pap smears should then be completed every three years until the age of 29. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 can either be Pap-tested every three years or every five years with a Pap/HPV co-test.
It is best to discuss with your healthcare provider what they recommend for a Pap smear schedule as some still encourage yearly screenings. However, it is important to note that the American Pregnancy Association recommends that even if your healthcare provider suggests that you have a Pap smear every 2-3 years, you still should see your gynecologist every year for pelvic exams, information regarding other women’s health issues, and breast exams.
Which Tests Can be Done for Fertility?
There are medical and at-home tests available for learning about your fertility. At-home ovulation predictors measure LH, luteinizing hormone, which can indicate a woman’s most fertile days to increase chances of conception. At-home fertility tests measure the level of FSH, follicle stimulating hormone, to indicate that your body is producing a fully developed egg each month. While the at-home tests are convenient and inexpensive, they do not assess all the factors that could be contributing to a woman’s infertility. A more comprehensive approach towards assessing your fertility can be completed through medical fertility testing by a reproductive endocrinologist. The tests performed in the physician’s office are more reliable and valid and allow for discussion of possible next steps for treatment options.
Aspire can assist you in diagnosing infertility issues. Schedule an appointment with one of our fertility experts or email Aspire with any questions. You can also schedule an appointment at any of the Aspire Fertility Clinics or call the: