Ultrasound scans are very essential for the assessment of fertility in women, who face difficulty in conceiving naturally. It helps a doctor diagnose possible causes for infertility such as evaluating the ovaries, endometrium, uterus, and the fallopian tubes. Based on the diagnosis, the doctor recommends a suitable fertility treatment.
What is the Use of Ultrasound Scan for Fertility?
An ultrasound probe emits high-frequency sound waves, which bounces off the organs and tissues in the body and reflect on the probe. When attached to a computer, these reflections are reconstructed into images on the monitor. A doctor uses the ultrasound for fertility testing and assesses reproductive organs and the pelvic areas to rule out any possible pathological or structural reasons of infertility, described as follows.
If you are facing difficulty in conceiving, your doctor will examine your ovaries, their shape and size, and check for the occurrence of any normal or abnormal cysts. Presence of numerous small cysts, appearing like a pearl necklace can indicate the possibility of a polycystic ovarian syndrome, whereas, a larger endometrioma cyst can mean endometriosis.
2. Antral Follicles
Antral follicles measure between 2 and 10 mm in diameter and consist of a fluid-filled cavity known as antrum. These follicles become visible through a transvaginal ultrasound on day 2, 3, or 5 of your cycle. Measuring the antral follicle count helps in:
- Evaluating ovarian reserve.
- Diagnosing the primary ovarian insufficiency.
- Determining your fertility potential with respect to your age (a low count indicates poor reserve and high count may indicate PCOS).
3. The Uterus
The technician takes note of the shape, size, and the position of your uterus. He may look for possible indications of uterine masses such as polyps, fibroids or adenomyosis in the uterus using a hysteroscopyor sonohysterogram, if required.
4. Endometrium Thickness
The doctor will also keep a check on the endometrium, the uterine lining as your menstrual cycle progresses. He will examine whether the lining at a stage is as thick as it should be.
5. Fallopian Tubes
Your doctor can see the fallopian tubes through 2D scan only if it is filled with fluid or is swollen. He may use an HSG test or HyCoSy to check if your fallopian tubes are clear or blocked, and the condition hydrosalpinx.
Adhesions can occur as a result of prior pelvic infection or endometriosis, and they block the free motion of the reproductive organs. It can be diagnosed by gentle pressing of the transvaginal probe on the ovaries, to see how they move in the pelvic cavity and whether they adhere to each other.
7. Blood Flow to Reproductive Organs
Using a colour Doppler scan, the doctor evaluates the blood flow around a mass or cyst. It is beneficial in distinguishing between a healthy cyst, an ovarian tumour, or an endometrial cyst.
8. Conception Check
An early pregnancy scan after you have been tested positive can help rule out the risk for ectopic pregnancy or a blighted ovum. It can also help detect the foetal heartbeat indicating an ongoing pregnancy.