Pregnancy – In Vitro Fertilisation - Scans And Blood Tests – Part I

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If the blood tests and scan are satisfactory, you start on the next stage, the hMG injections, which needs very careful monitoring. The following set of blood tests and scans usually comes on about the ninth day of the injections. The blood tests measure the level of oestrogen, the hormone produced by the developing eggs. The ultrasound scans measure the size of the developing follicles. These appear as black holes, quite indis¬tinct at first to the untrained eye. The sonographer will identify and measure the follicles on each ovary and mark them on a chart.

It is the relationship between the number and size of the follicles and the oestrogen level which is important in estimating the number and maturity of the eggs and the risks of hypersti-mulation. The teas are repeated on a regular basis. The growth of the follicles and the level of oestrogen are carefully charted. Sometimes the growth will seem very restricted for a number of days, or the number of follicles might vary slightly from day to day. Equally, the oestrogen level may seem very flat before showing the sudden surge which indicates the eggs are reaching maturity.

It's a fascinating and frustrating time. Watching on the ultra¬sound screen the development of what could ultimately lead to the creation of a completely new human being is amazing and if all goes well, it is very rewarding to see the follicles grow, literally day by day. You can get a copy of one of the ultrasound scans, so that you have your own record of treatment. But if there are few or no follicles, or if they do not seem to develop, the lack of success can seem all too obvious. Even worse, it may be that other women in the waiting room have tales of large numbers of follicles showing on their scans. Appearances can be deceptive, though. The end result required for a transfer is at most three good embryos and it does not necessarily take a very large number of follicles to produce these. Indeed an exces¬sive number can spell disaster. It's important also to remember that the scans and blood tests only indicate the likelihood of mature eggs. Unfortunately the eggs themselves cannot be detected on ultrasound and there is no way of knowing whether the growing follicles actually contain any eggs until they are opened during egg collection. A woman might produce a satis¬factory number of large follicles, but few or no suitable eggs.

Shirley M. Duran is a mother of two and an author of a variety of related lifestyle issues and topics with which has helped hundreds of mothers become pregnant. If you have any pregnancy questions for which you need answers, it is recommended to visit:

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