The team at our Dallas fertility treatment center always strives to ensure safe, problem-free fertility treatment procedures. Using the latest technology and techniques, we hope to help our patients start healthy and happy families.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) remains one of the most popular and essential fertility treatments. To help with the process, imaging and testing is crucial. That's where ultrasound comes into play. Let's go over the basics of ultrasound and show you when it's used during the IVF treatment process.
The Role of Ultrasound in IVF Treatment
Also referred to as ultrasonography, ultrasound is a crucial form of medical imaging with many applications. The technology uses safe high frequency sound waves to generate images of the inside of the body.
Many people think of ultrasound as a way to monitor the development of a fetus and a baby, but it can also be used to examine different parts of the body for diagnostic purposes. In essence, ultrasound allows fertility specialists to adjust a fertility treatment based on the needs of the patient when needed.
Initial Baseline Ultrasound
Before the IVF process has even begin, an initial baseline ultrasound is taken. Typically this means a transvaginal ultrasound during a woman's monthly cycle. This baseline ultrasound allows fertility specialists to check if the ovaries are producing eggs properly and if there are any issues that may be affecting fertility, such as ovarian cysts.
If the baseline ultrasound checks out, the IVF process can proceed. If there are issues affecting fertility, additional treatments will be considered.
Ultrasound to Monitor Fertility Drug Effects
During IVF, women are given fertility drugs in order to stimulate the production of follicles and increase the chances of successful pregnancy. An additional ultrasound may be administered in order to monitor follicle development and ensure the procedure proceeds as planned.
Ultrasound for Egg Retrieval
When eggs are viable for fertilization, fertility specialists can perform egg retrieval. This involves the harvesting of viable eggs, which will then be fertilized in a lab. The retrieval process is quite delicate and precise. In order to ensure that the eggs are not harmed, ultrasound is used during this process.
Ultrasound for Embryo Transfer
After eggs have been fertilized in the lab, they will undergo cellular division. When the eggs become embryos, it is time that they get transferred back into the womb to develop fully. This is known as embryo transfer. Again, to ensure success of this process, ultrasound is used to help with the transfer of eggs into the uterine cavity.
Ultrasound After Successful Pregnancy
There will be two separate pregnancy tests to help confirm a successful pregnancy. Once the pregnancy is confirmed, an additional transvaginal ultrasound is performed. This early obstetric ultrasound allows fertility specialists to monitor the overall health of the developing fetus. Additional ultrasound can be scheduled a week later to continue monitoring fetal development.
Once initial tests check out with the developing fetus, a woman can begin seeing an OB/GYN for full prenatal care.
Learn More About IVF
For more information about IVF and your many other options for starting a family, be sure to contact our team of fertility specialists today. Our team will discuss all of your options with you in much greater detail.