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A woman is born with millions of immature eggs waiting to be released from the ovary. During ovulation, a mature egg is released through the fallopian tube, and becomes available for fertilization. Since an egg and a sperm fuse to form a baby, to prepare for the same, the uterine walls thicken in anticipation. In the event that no conception occurs, both the uterine lining and blood will be shed by the body as the monthly process of menstruation.
An egg is available to be fertilized by a sperm for only 12-24 hours, and at a given ovulation cycle, it is just one mature egg that is released. If the patientis trying for pregnancy, this is the time to have an intercourse to get favourable results. Most women who have regular menstrual cycles will ovulate between day 11th and 21st day of the cycle, counted from the first day of the last menstrual period. However, this is not necessary, and many women may ovulate at different times or different day each month. This is why it is important to track the menstrual cycles and hence ovulation.
The female reproductive system has small tissues called ovarian follicles that contain and release eggs for fertilization during ovulation. A follicle is a fluid area in which the eggs grow. The follicle increases in size as the egg grows. Follicular tracking involves scanning the ovaries regularly during themenstrual cycle and observing the follicles as they increase in size. It is a series of vaginal scans to help determine when the patient will ovulate, the number of mature eggs that will ovulate and to ensure that this is accomplished safely.When the eggs are mature, patients are advised to have timed intercourse or Intrauterine Insemination or proceed with egg collection in case of an In-Vitro Fertilization Cycle.
Generally, these scans will start around day 9 of the cycle and continue till day 20. It is a vital process for getting pregnant including through fertility treatments like IVF.
A follicular study helps in ascertaining the size of any active follicles in the ovaries that can contain an egg and effectively predict ovulation so that fertilization can take place naturally. After a follicular scan, a couple can try for pregnancy when ovulation is likely to happen. If pregnancy is to take place through a fertility treatment, the scan helps to determine the presence of follicles and the best time to extract an egg for fertilization.
Performed via an transvaginal ultrasound, a follicular study examines the ovarian follicles and takes pictures of the internal organs which are further analyzed. The scans are done by inserting a small plastic probe into the vagina. The doctor will be able to tell the approximatetime when the egg will be released, and thus a couple can plan an intercourse at that time to maximize the chances of conception. The tissues containing eggs and the thickness of the endometrial lining are studied to determine the period that the patientislikely to ovulate.
Though any woman trying to get pregnant can get a follicle scan done, it is more largely recommended as a first line of treatment for couples who have not been able to conceive even after having unprotected intercoursefor than one year. Age of the woman may also play a significant role as good eggs cease in women who are in their late 30s or in 40s. The pregnancy rates can decline sharply after a woman crosses the age of 35. Furthermore, follicular monitoring may also be beneficial for women who:
The follicular tracking scan will generally take about 5 minutes
Because the ovulation window is wide, in each cycle about 8 - 10 scans will be required. The base line scan will help the doctor know the initial stage of the follicle, and from there the development will be closely followed. The next scan will be scheduled accordingly. As the cycle progresses, the follicle growth and womb lining will be ascertained. The scan will give a very clear picture of the developments happening and the right time of ovulation will be arrived at.
Yes, as a fact, a follicular study will also detect some other issues that may impede a pregnancy. Some of them are:
All these parameters help the doctor to know what and when things are happening, and what is not happening. It makes it easier to identify the problems and thus impart treatment or corrective measures.