Ultrasound scans are a significant part of infertility testing and fertility treatment. Ultrasound is a secondary vision for fertility testing. Ultrasound scan works employing high-frequency sound waves to generate an image of inner organs.
Commonly the ultrasound is done transvaginally that is via the vagina with a specialized probe infertility testing and treatment. This gives better picturing and magnification of pelvic organs for improved analysis and management.
For Fertility Treatment, Ultrasound is used for:
- In a normal cycle to monitor follicle growth and when the follicle attains magnitude of 18 to 22 mm, patients are guided for timed intercourse. Also, we can check on ultrasound whether the growing follicle has ruptured or not.
- In IUI cycle, the follicle is under constant observation from day 2 of periods with oral/injectable ovulation-inducing medications.
- In IVF, on day 2 of the period a baseline ultrasound is done, to examine ovaries, number of follicles are counted and their size is measured, depending on whether a dose is decided for hormonal stimulation.
- Response to stimulation of injection by transvaginal route is regularly checked.
- When the suitable size of development of follicles is attained, i.e. 18 to 22mm final development trigger is given by HCG depending on the number of follicles.
- 36 Hours after taking a trigger shot, oocyte recovery is made which includes removing eggs from ovary under anaesthesia using transvaginal ultrasound.
- In Uterus, to measure endometrial thickness in natural / IUI cycle/ IVF cycle.
- Embryo transfer is completed under abdominal ultrasound guidance in IVF. A catheter tube is introduced in the uterine cavity to place selected embryos for transfer.
- To study the outcome of oestrogen on endometrial thickness in the IVF cycle.
During infertility testing, ultrasound gives information on:
- Uterus endometrial cavity where actual pregnancy is developed. It provides an exact measure of endometrial dimensions.
- 3D picturing of the uterine excludes uterine growth defects.
- Usually healthy fallopian tubes cannot be pictured on ultrasound. Hence Sonohysterogram is an imaging study of the uterus done using ultrasound to check the shape of the uterus and to rule out uterine abnormality and adhesions, check patency of fallopian tubes.
Ultrasound is a non-invasive, more comfortable, harmless, inexpensive, and less time-consuming method for fertility testing and treatment. It has transformed the exploratory approach and treatment of an infertile couple. It can provide valuable information about fertility and help the couple to arrive at a better decision for the procedure.