In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a versatile fertility treatment for couples experiencing infertility issues, including those that are unexplained. IVF is an assisted fertilization procedure, meaning that each step of conception, from ovarian stimulation to embryo implantation, is observed and guided by fertility specialist Dr. Janelle Dorsett. One way in which these processes are evaluated is through ultrasounds. Here, patients can learn about the typical IVF ultrasound schedule at our Lubbock, TX fertility practice.
The first ultrasound is known as the baseline ultrasound. This ultrasound is a transvaginal ultrasound that will be performed so that Dr. Dorsett can examine the patient’s ovaries. This ultrasound is performed prior to ovarian stimulation and is generally scheduled around the time of the woman’s expected period. During this ultrasound, we check that the ovaries are suppressed (are not producing any eggs), measure serum estradiol levels, and check for any potential complications or concerns, such as cysts. As long as the ovaries are normal, we can begin the process of ovarian stimulation.
Starting on the fifth day of ovarian stimulation we will monitor patients to evaluate follicular development. At each monitoring appointment, we will perform an ultrasound and take blood to measure hormone levels. This allows us to make any necessary adjustments to medication doses. Each patient’s exact schedule will be unique based on how well the follicles seem to be maturing, but on average these ultrasounds are scheduled once every one to three days, until the day of egg retrieval.
Egg retrieval will be guided through an abdominal ultrasound. The ultrasound allows us to watch the needle as it is inserted into the vagina and ovary, where it will draw out mature follicles. The patient will be in a state of twilight sedation during this procedure.
Once eggs have been fertilized and the embryos are ready for transfer, we will again perform an ultrasound. This time the abdominal ultrasound will visually guide us as we place the chosen embryos into the uterus. For the best visual results, we ask that patients have a full bladder when this procedure is performed.
Early Obstetric Ultrasound
The next ultrasound in the IVF process is the early obstetric ultrasound. This transvaginal ultrasound usually takes place about two to three weeks after the embryo transfer, once a patient has gotten two positive pregnancy results. During this ultrasound, Dr. Dorsett will be looking for a fetal heartbeat, a yolk sac, and a gestational sac. If all of these elements are present, the patient will likely be released to a regular caregiver for prenatal care. If these elements are unclear, we may schedule a second ultrasound for a week later.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are having a difficult time becoming pregnant and are interested in exploring your fertility treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Janelle Dorsett at your earliest convenience. Dr. Dorsett can answer any questions you may have about the IVF process, or any of our other fertility services.