A general pelvic ultrasound scan is a good baseline check to investigate the uterus, ovaries and surrounding areas to establish if there is an underlying gynaecological problem which may hinder your chances of conceiving naturally or in your fertility treatment pathway. For example, very irregular periods or polycystic ovaries (PCO) are often associated with a failure to ovulate every cycle, whilst fibroids can hinder implantation of the fertilised egg.
This scan is the same as a pelvis scan in functionality, however, we pay close attention to the shape and the lining of the womb (endometrium) to see if there may be a problem for implantation of the egg once fertilised, looking in particular for very small or very large fibroids and PCO.
Ultrasound is used as a primary investigation for male infertility. The scan is non-invasive and can diagnosis many disorders of the male reproductive system. Routine scrotal ultrasound (testes ultrasound) provides more valuable information about pathological conditions compared to clinical examination and can check for evidence of conditions such as retrograde ejaculation and ejaculatory duct obstruction.
The testes scan (scrotal ultrasound) will evaluate the size, shape and condition of the testis, scrotum, epididymis and surrounding sac.
Common problems which can show on the scan are masses, calcification, cysts, varicoceles, spermatoceles and hydrocele.
endometrial thickness scan
An endometrial thickness scan will monitor the thickness and appearance of the lining of the womb / endometrium. The scan is useful to accurately predict when ovulation is expected in order to maximise the chances of natural fertilisation and implantation of the egg. In the case of fertility treatment when the egg implantation is best performed. The endometrial thickness is measured at it’s maximum diameter in mm’s.
ovary follicle tracking
Ovarian Follicle Tracking scan measures the size of any active follicles in the ovaries that can contain an egg. The scan is useful to accurately predict when ovulation might be expected to maximise the chances of the egg being fertilised by natural means. In the case of fertility treatment the ultrasound scan will determine how many follicles are present and when egg extraction is best performed.
Both these scans are performed trans-vaginally, which means that you do not need to fill the bladder. Usually a series of 1-3 scans is performed, usually commencing around day 7–9 from your last menstrual cycle. This scan will check if ovulation cycle is functioning normally or as part of IVF treatment the number of follicles which are present and the size.
If you are having IVF fertility treatment, your clinic will tell you when these scans need to be performed. The scans are sometimes done in conjunction with hormone blood tests to check for levels of Progesterone, Oestradiol, Luteinsing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), see Female hormone blood tests.
These scans will also check: the womb, (uterus) lining of the womb (endometrium), both ovaries, pelvic area (adnexa).