Stimulation is the first step in the IVF treatment cycle wherein the female is placed on hormone-based medication that facilitates ovaries to produce multiple follicles, which can eventually lead to multiple embryos. This in turn gives the individual a higher chance of implantation and eventual pregnancy.
Stimulation is also the key to produce enough embryos to be able to use some in the current cycle and freeze others for future requirements.
What is Monitoring?
Monitoring is a term used for the monitoring of the various activities leading up to an IVF cycle, which include ovulation induction, IUI, IVF, Donor Egg IVF, Egg Freezing. These are undertaken to evaluate how the woman is responding to the treatment. The results of the tests are reviewed periodically, evaluated – every 2-4 days in most cases, and further instructions for continued treatment are provided for the patient.
What to Expect at a Monitoring Appointment?
At a regular monitoring appointment, the patient is required to have some lab work as well as an ultrasound scan. The ultrasound is a transvaginal procedure that provides the doctor with the best view of the uterus and ovaries. During the ultrasound, the sonographer will determine the number and size of each follicle along with the endometrial thickness and type. The lab results include tests for testing levels of Oestradiol, Progesterone, and LH. At times. additional lab work may be taken if necessary.
How Many Monitoring Appointments Will I Have?
The total number of monitoring appointments and their frequency varies greatly from case to case. This depends on the type of treatment as well as the type and dosage of medication prescribed. In most cases, the monitoring appointments begin on day 2, 3, or 4 of the female’s menstrual cycle and subsequently continue every 2-4 days. That means you can expect to have 2-5 monitoring appointments. Progressing from the beginning of a treatment cycle, the patient can expect the appointments to be more frequent with the need to keep a close eye on the follicles, eggs, and uterine lining becoming more pertinent, such that the planned fertility treatment procedure is eventually successful.
What is a Baseline?
A baseline ultrasound is performed before the start of any stimulation injections or hormone medications. This ultrasound provides the doctors with a true glimpse of the health and state of the ovaries and pelvic organs before fertility treatment begins. This baseline will then allow the doctors to compare ultrasounds that are performed throughout the IVF process to baseline exam and ascertain progress. Although the exact day that a baseline ultrasound is performed may vary slightly for each patient, it is generally scheduled right around the time that the patient’s period is expected, or around day one or two of the menstrual cycle.
What about Home Ovulation Predictor Kits?
From temperature tracking and ovulation kits to fertility apps, there are a large number of products that offer to track ovulation and pinpoint your most fertile days. While it is always recommended to have blood and ultrasound monitoring done at a medical facility, in some cases patients might find it easier using a home ovulation predictor kit when doing less invasive treatments. These check for various parameters including – basal temperatures, cervical mucus changes, urine ovulation, and others.