When patients face issues with infertility, one of the most common treatments used to address there matters is in vitro fertilization (IVF). Thanks to IVF, couples and individuals are able to start families or have additional children after facing various kinds of setbacks. The team at our Houston fertility center has helped countless people achieve their dreams thanks to IVF.
For IVF to work, it takes proper planning, expert timing, and advanced technology. Ultrasound plays an important part of the IVF process and fertility treatments in general. Let's consider the uses of ultrasound during IVF and when it is used in the process.
Why Ultrasound Is Important for IVF Treatment
Also known as ultrasonography, ultrasound is a special kind of medical imaging. The technology uses safe high frequency sound waves to generate images of the inside of the body. While ultrasound is commonly associated with monitoring the development of a fetus and baby, it can also be used to examine different parts of the anatomy and for diagnostic purposes.
Ultrasound allows fertility specialists to check on a woman's health and make adjustments to a fertility treatment as needed in order to achieve optimal results.
Initial Baseline Ultrasound
The first ultrasound taken as part of the IVF process occurs before any fertility treatment has begun. This is known as an initial baseline ultrasound. Women undergo a transvaginal ultrasound during their period. This helps check if the ovaries are producing eggs at the right time and if there are any issues with the ovaries (e.g., cysts) that might contribute to infertility.
If a woman's ultrasound is normal, IVF can proceed with the use of fertility drugs.
Ultrasound to Monitor Hormones and Fertility Drug Effects
As fertility drugs are being used to stimulate the production of follicles, women will likely undergo another ultrasound in addition to other kinds of monitoring. This will ensure that proper follicular development is occurring and that the procedure is going as planned.
Ultrasound for Egg Retrieval
Once viable eggs are produced for fertilization, egg retrieval is performed. This will harvest the viable eggs so that they can be fertilized in a lab. This process is delicate and precise. Ultrasound is used in order to ensure proper extraction of the eggs without harming them.
Ultrasound for Embryo Transfer
When the eggs have been successfully fertilized and have begun cellular division, it's then time to transfer them back into the uterus to fully develop. This process is known as embryo transfer. To ensure the safe and proper transfer of embryos into the uterine cavity, ultrasound is used once again.
Ultrasound After Successful Pregnancy
After two separate pregnancy tests confirm a successful pregnancy, a woman will undergo another ultrasound exam. This early obstetric ultrasound is performed trasnvaginally, allowing the fertility specialist to monitor the early health of the developing fetus. A second ultrasound may be scheduled a week after this one to check in again at fetal development.
If everything checks out as normal with regard to fetal development, a woman can then start seeing an OB/GYN for checkups and proper prenatal care.
Speak with Our Fertility Treatment Experts
For more information about IVF and how it can help you start the family you have always wanted to have, be sure to contact our team of experienced fertility specialists today. The team at our practice will help you understand all of your fertility treatment options.