Pregnancy and childbirth are something every woman, including you, wishes to experience at least once in life. And if there is something that prevents you from achieving pregnancy, you would want to take the necessary tests and identify the issue.
A follicular study is one such method of identifying why you can’t conceive. In particular, a follicular study helps you understand whether you are ovulating regularly.
In this article, we will look into what a follicular study is and what treatment options you have to become pregnant after that. Read this article if you are going to undergo a follicular study in the near future.
What is a Follicular Study?
A follicular study involves a series of transvaginal ultrasounds that will be done every other day over the course of your ovulation cycle. Your doctor will analyze the growth of the follicles and eggs to see if they are developing normally.
Based on the growth of your follicles, your doctor will determine the next course of action that can help you get pregnant. A follicular study is a non-invasive procedure and usually doesn’t cause much discomfort.
3 Common Fertility Treatments After Follicular Study
If your follicles have been developing normally and you don’t have any fertility issues, your doctor will recommend timely intercourse to ensure the sperm fertilizes your egg.
However, if there are any issues with your ovulation cycle or your partner has any fertility issues, they might recommend some fertility treatments to achieve pregnancy.
Below are the three most common fertility treatments your doctor might suggest after a follicular study.
IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
IUI is the first fertility treatment your doctor will suggest after a follicular study. This method is preferred if your ovulation cycle is normal and you have very mild infertility issues.
In this procedure, the sperm is collected from the male partner and injected directly into the uterus. Below is the overview of what happens during an IUI treatment.
1. Ovulation induction
You will be given fertility medications that will stimulate your ovaries to release more mature eggs. This step can be avoided if your ovaries release a healthy egg every month.
2. Sperm retrieval
The semen sample is collected from the male partner. The sperm are washed, and the healthy, high-quality sperm are separated from the weak sperm.
3. Insemination & fertilization
Right when you are about to ovulate, your doctor will inject the healthy sperm into your uterus. The sperm will then swim to the fallopian tubes to fertilize the awaiting egg.
4. Implantation & pregnancy
If the fertilized egg successfully implants into the uterine lining, the embryo will start growing, resulting in pregnancy.
IUI is also a good fertility treatment in cases of male-factor infertility where your partner’s sperm is unable to swim to the egg for fertilization.
IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)
IVF is a fertility treatment that is preferred if you have major infertility issues or if your IUI cycles are a failure. It is one of the best fertility treatments with a high success rate.
In this procedure, both your eggs and your partner’s sperm will be collected and fertilized in a laboratory. IVF is usually recommended if
- You and your partner are above 40 years of age,
- You have blocked fallopian tubes,
- You have ovulation issues,
- You have other unexplained infertility issues.
The general steps followed during an IVF procedure are as follows.
1. Ovulation induction
Similar to IUI, you will also be given fertility medications to stimulate your ovaries and produce more eggs.
2. Egg & sperm retrieval
Just when your eggs are about to be released, they will be collected from your ovaries. Simultaneously, your husband’s sperm will also be collected, and the healthy sperm will be separated from the rest.
The eggs and sperm will be placed together in a lab dish overnight. Fertilization occurs when the sperm swims to the eggs and fertilizes them.
4. Embryo culture
The fertilized eggs are monitored for development for around 3 to 5 days. They will be analyzed and graded based on their chances of resulting in a successful pregnancy.
5. Embryo transfer
The best embryo(s) among them is collected in a needle and transferred back into the uterus. Pregnancy happens when the embryo implants and starts developing.
ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)
ICSI is a type of IVF procedure. The only difference is the method of fertilization. In IVF, the sperm and eggs are placed together in a lab dish for fertilization.
In ICSI, however, a single, high-quality sperm is selected and injected directly into the egg’s cytoplasm for fertilization. ICSI is generally considered to be a viable option for couples with male-factor infertility.
Below are some cases where you might need to undergo ICSI to get pregnant.
- Your partner has a low sperm count
- Your partner has low sperm motility and morphology
- Your previous IVF cycles were a failure
- You are using frozen sperm for fertilization
The above three methods are the fertility treatments you can undergo if your doctor finds any abnormalities in your follicular study. You don’t need to worry too much if you can’t get pregnant naturally.
You can discuss this with your fertility doctor and choose the fertility treatment that best suits your problem. Don’t lose hope, and always stay positive.
With a follicular study, your fertility doctor can track your ovulation cycle. This can help them analyze when your eggs are releasing and improve the chances of pregnancy.
Your doctor will frequently check the growth of your follicles through a follicular study. When the eggs are mature enough, your doctor will administer an hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) injection to trigger the release of the eggs (ovulation).
Generally, your doctor will conduct around four to six follicular study examinations in a single cycle. These tests will help them analyze the growth of the follicles and determine when the eggs will be released.
A follicular study helps you accurately pinpoint when your egg will be released and ready for fertilization. This can help couples time their intercourse and increase the chances of fertilization and pregnancy.