Ultrasonography has been used in assisted reproductive therapy as a tool for diagnosing medical conditions in the female reproductive tract, especially within the ovaries, that are incompatible with fertility and pregnancy.
According to some researchers, ultrasound scans may be as good at predicting a woman’s chances of conception via in-vitro fertilization as hormone tests, which could be invasive, time-consuming and expensive.During an IVF cycle, fertility specialists prescribe medication to women to promote egg maturation within their ovaries. These eggs are then extracted and fertilized in the laboratory.
Some women’s ovaries fail to produce any eggs for IVF, signaling that the treatment has failed. Due to high costs associated with assisted reproductive therapy, many prospective patients undergo tests before even starting the process to estimate the chances that assisted reproductive therapy would work. These tests involve the administration of medications that boost the production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). The drawback is that these medications can cause unwanted side effects such as mood swings and hot flashes.
In a recent study, researchers investigated whether ultrasound scans would be a more practical alternative to hormone testing. The design of the study involved using ultrasound to count the number of follicles found within the patients’ ovaries. The patients also underwent hormone testing to determine whether a correlation was present.
Normally, a woman may have anywhere from two to twenty follicles that mature every month, but only one follicle releases an egg during ovulation. Fertility medications cause all of the follicles to reach the final stage of development, which translates into more eggs that can be extracted, fertilise with sperm in the laboratory dish and then implant in a patient’s uterus.More eggs can be harvested, fertilized, or cryogenically frozen for future attempts at IVF and artificial insemination techniques such as intrauterine insemination (IUI).
The results of the study found that women with high follicle counts indicated by the ultrasound test were more likely to have a successful IVF treatment.The test positively identified women who later went on to conceive successfully about 82% of the time. This was similar to the success rates predicted by hormone testing. Fertility experts agree that ultrasound is more convenient, since it does not require multiple visits by a prospective patient.
But other experts propose that women considering IVF might want to undergo both ultrasound testing and hormone tests to assess whether IVF might work. Since medicine is not an exact science, they believe that both tests would only make the picture clearer.