Fertility Diagnosis is the foundation of our approach to your care. By accurately assessing your condition and circumstances, it allows us to advise you appropriately and tailor our treatments for you.
For women, we use Advanced Ultrasound in order to assess fertility status and pick up details that might otherwise be missed. We do an Antral Follicle count and measure the volume of the ovary in order to assess egg reserve. We look at the womb to find out if there are any abnormalities that might affect implantation.
One of the most important benefits of our advanced ultrasound scanning is that it provides us with qualitative information about your fertility. We use Doppler scanning to assess blood flow to the ovarian tissue, to the womb and we can even assess blood flow to individual follicles (egg sacs). A cell in the body that receives good blood flow is likely to be a healthy cell; it has received a good supply of oxygen and nutrients. By assessing blood flow to follicles, we can ascertain which eggs may be of better quality.
Sometimes we can use this information to help you have a baby without the need for treatment. We will always do our best to help you to have a baby naturally.
Please note that due to HFEA regulations ultrasound scan results are valid for 3 months. If you do not start treatment within 3 months of your scan, you will need to be scanned again.
Our Medical Director, Professor Nargund, was the lead author on the first scientific paper on One-Stop Fertility Diagnosis using Advanced Ultrasound Technology. We firmly believe in the importance of Ultrasound in giving you the best chance to have a baby.
Using advanced ultrasound in Natural and Mild IVF
In Natural and Mild IVF, there are a reduced number of follicles compared with conventional IVF. In order to ensure to give you the best chance of success, we have to have a deep understanding of your physiology. Advanced ultrasound gives us the qualitative information on which we can base your treatment.
We also have to be obsessive about every single follicle, because of the reduced numbers of follicles compared with conventional IVF. We place a great deal of emphasis on using Advanced Ultrasound to monitor your cycle.
Professors Campbell and Nargund published the first scientific paper showing that "One-Stop Fertility Test" can be reliably performed using Advanced Ultrasound Technology.
“Campbell, one of the world's leading experts in obstetrics, has been working with ultrasound technology since its earliest days”
[Reference: Simon M. Kelly, Povilas Sladkevicius, Stuart Campbell, and Geeta Nargund Investigation of the infertile couple: a one-stop ultrasound-based approach Hum. Reprod. (2001) 16(12): 2481-2484 doi:10.1093/humrep/16.12.2481]
Advanced ultrasound also provides valuable information during pregnancy:
Doppler ultrasound examination
What is Doppler?
Doppler is a form of ultrasound which measures the speed of red blood cells moving along blood vessels. It takes two principal forms, one, where a colour map of the blood vessels is shown on the conventional ultrasound image (colour Doppler); another where a tracing of the flow is shown on a graph so that the speed of flow can be measured (spectral Doppler). You do not need a separate examination for Doppler; it is done at the same time as the usual ultrasound examination.
Why is Doppler useful?
Blood flow is important because it is the method by which oxygen is transported to body organs and therefore improves the function of these organs. We can measure blood flow to the uterus and to the ovaries. During a women’s fertile years there is a fluctuation of blood flow during the menstrual cycle with more blood flow to the uterus in the second half of the cycle to aid implantation of the embryo. An increase in blood flow is also found before ovulation around healthy follicles which gives an indication of the health of the oocytes (eggs).
After the menopause blood flow to the uterus decreases due to the fall of oestrogen and when this occurs the effectiveness of hormone replacement therapy can be monitored by measuring the increase in blood flow.
Are there abnormalities in blood flow with specific conditions?
Yes, in polycystic ovary syndrome there is usually an increase in blood flow in the central part of the ovary (stroma) which reflects the local disturbance in growth hormones. Also the blood flow to the uterus is frequently poor which may explain the high miscarriage rate with this condition. With uterine fibroids there is usually an increase in blood flow and the higher the flow the greater the chance of fibroids growing. With ovarian cysts, a high internal flow indicates an increased risk of malignancy.