Ultrasound and follicle tracking
Your fertility doctor has referred you to Ultrasound Care as during fertility treatment, ultrasound is frequently used to check the number of follicles in the ovary and their development.
Ultrasound Care’s doctors are all specialist gynaecologists and together with our highly trained sonographers, are able to provide information on follicle tracking to assist your referring specialist in the management of your fertility treatment.
What are ovarian follicles?
Ovarian follicles are small sacs filled with fluid inside your ovaries that secrete hormones. At puberty, women have between 300,000 – 400,000 follicles.
Each follicle should theoretically contain an egg or oocyte. The oocytes are too small to see, although we know that as the oocyte develops and matures the follicle grows. There are two key factors that increase the chance of pregnancy:
The number of follicles you have tells your fertility doctor about the state of your fertility. If you have more follicles, it means that you have a chance of releasing more eggs which increases the chance of an egg being healthy and becoming fertilised.
What does follicle tracking involve?
Follicle tracking involves scanning the ovaries and tracking the development of the follicles within the ovary from the early immature state to maturity. By following the growth of the follicles, we can help predict when the oocyte is mature, and ovulation will occur.
A combination of ultrasound and blood tests that look at the levels of female hormones can help your fertility doctor pick the best time for intercourse or artificial insemination and assists IVF doctors to perform an egg pick up (oocyte retrieval).
How long does a follicle tracking procedure take and what is involved?
A follicle tracking procedure usually takes about 10-15 minutes. With your consent, follicle tracking scans are usually done with transvaginal ultrasound, as they are less accurate if we can only look transabdominally. You do not need to drink water or have a full bladder for this procedure.
The Ultrasound Care team of obstetricians and sonographers are all women, and we understand your need for privacy. Our scan rooms are all private and have their own individual en-suite. When you come for your scan, our care team will ask you to remove your clothes from the waist down including your underwear to allow for the transvaginal ultrasound. We will ensure we provide you with privacy for you to change and will give you a gown or modesty sheet to help you feel comfortable during your procedure.
During your scan, the Ultrasound Care doctor will insert a probe into the vagina which is then moved from side to side to get clear images of the ovaries and follicles.
Why have I been referred to Ultrasound Care for follicle tracking?
Our specialist team of sonographers and doctors are experts at follicle tracking and are privileged to work closely with multiple different IVF units across Australia. We understand this information is time sensitive and we want you to have the best chance of success.
To help ensure the best results possible, Ultrasound Care has dedicated appointments for follicle tracking at all our sites and we ensure these reports are given a high priority, with them often released and reported to your referring doctor within 30 minutes of your scan.