Couples who face difficulties conceiving end up visiting a fertility specialist to try IVF, ICSI, IUI, etc. These treatments involve various scans and tests to ensure the process is monitored closely and pregnancy chances are raised.
One such scan is the Follicular Study, an essential step of IVF treatment. It allows doctors to monitor follicular growth and track ovulation, egg release, and endometrium thickness.
This blog gives you all the details on the follicular study, its success rate, its advantages, and much more.
What is Follicular Study, and why is it done?
The follicular study, also known as follicular monitoring, is a series of scans/tests to monitor follicle growth before an IVF cycle. It tells you when the eggs will release, when they mature and when will the uterine walls appropriately thicken.
To understand follicular study in detail, let’s have a quick look at how conception happens regularly and the role of ovulation in the same.
When a baby girl is born, she has millions of immature eggs in her ovaries. On growing up, an egg is released every month from alternate ovaries, waiting for the sperm to fertilize in the fallopian tubes.
On fertilization, an embryo is formed and reaches the uterus for implantation. When the embryo attaches itself to the uterine lining, pregnancy happens to begin.
On the other hand, if there is no conception, the mature egg will release. Still, the uterine lining will shed during every menstrual cycle.
The critical thing to know here is that ovulation plays a vital role in pregnancy because that is when an egg is ready to be fertilized. It is because the life cycle of an egg is just 12-24 hours, during which, if fertilization happens, the pregnancy will begin.
When is Follicular Monitoring Necessary?
Before knowing when is follicular scan necessary, let’s first understand why it is done.
A follicular scan/study is a series of transvaginal ultrasounds. It is a quick 10-15 minute procedure where your doctor will insert a probe into your vagina and examine the ovaries and follicles. It tells about the number of eggs produced in an ovulation cycle and if the hormones involved are appropriate. Certain medications are given to meet the requirements if any of these things are not appropriate.
During IVF, follicular study lets you know if your body responds to an IVF treatment. It helps your doctor get detailed information about your ovarian reserve, ovulation cycle, and hormones. If you have opted for an IVF cycle, you must undergo these scans.
Once you know your ovulation window and when you ovulate, you can plan your intercourse accordingly to increase pregnancy chances. However, a follicular study doesn’t guarantee fertilization or implantation in pregnancy.
Follicular Monitoring becomes essential in situations like:
- Check ovulation-related problems if you are under 35 and can’t conceive even after one year of unprotected sex.
- If you have PCOS and an irregular period/ovulation cycle.
- If you are over 35 and can’t conceive naturally.
- To track follicle growth after consuming fertility drugs during IVF or IUI.
What Are the Advantages of Folliculometry?
Follicular scan, also known as folliculometry, has various other advantages in detecting:
- Follicles do not grow at all.
- Dominant follicles that do not rupture.
- Detect issues like OHSS, etc.
- Diagnose luteal phase deficiency.
- Predict ovulation in an irregular cycle.
How Does Follicle Tracking Work?
During a visit to a Gynecologist, you will be asked to lie down on your back with your legs spread and bent. For a transvaginal ultrasound, the doctor will insert a probe into your vagina and examine your ovaries and follicles.
It is a fast procedure that takes around 10-15 minutes. It tells when your follicles will start developing and when they will disappear. It also informs about endometrium thickness, hormone levels, etc.
Usually, in 28 day menstrual cycle, follicles develop around the 9th day. Soon when they disappear, the ovulation starts and happens between day 12th to day 16th.
This phase is known as the fertile window because a woman is most fertile during these days. Doctors will advise you to have intercourse during this time to conceive a baby.
When combined, these little things can significantly affect your pregnancy chances. So, if you struggle to conceive, you should undergo a follicular scan. A follicular study report will give you a lot of clarity about your fertility issue.
Success Rate of Follicular Study
If you are still confused about whether a follicular study works or not, here’s what you should know. The success rate of follicular study depends upon various factors like the patient’s age, medical history, etc.
A follicular study can be stressful for couples as it involves ovulation tracking and asks teams to have intercourse at a fixed time. Various sources say that the success rate of follicular studies is only 10%. However, it has indirectly shown positive results in some couples.
Side Effects of Follicular Ultrasound Scan
There are no such side effects of this scan. However, due to ovulation tracking, you are supposed to track ovulation and intercourse with your partner in that phase. It can make a female partner have sex during ovulation while affecting the partner’s libido.
What is the Cost of a Follicular Study?
Follicular study test price depends upon the clinic you choose, the city you are in, and the quality of scans. It ranges from Rs. 300 to 2000 per sitting.
Follicular scan has various advantages, but it is mainly preferred in cases where couples can’t conceive naturally. It is an initial step in an IVF procedure. It helps track the ovulation cycle to increase pregnancy chances and detect any ovulation-related problems.
You should consult a fertility expert if you’re facing any similar issues. The expert will guide you if you should choose a follicular scan to rule out any problems.
After the follicular study, the doctor will check the results of the study and recommend the next treatment, intrauterine insemination (IUI) or IVF, to the couple.
For a pregnancy to begin, your follicles should be around 18-25 mm in diameter. Moreover, a good quality uterine lining of 10 mm thickness helps hold the embryo.
Nope, A follicular scan is not at all painful. It is a quick procedure that does;t cause any pain during the monitoring. However, rare patients can experience discomfort due to gel or probe.