Why So Many Ultrasounds and Blood Draws?

The infertility journey has been described as an emotional roller-coaster filled with ups and downs. A description of the positive hope and the sometimes negative outcomes of treatments. As part of your treatment you will experience many ups and downs and pokes and jabs. Ultrasound and blood work are key tools in monitoring your cycle during fertility treatments.
At CNY Fertility Center, founded and directed by Dr. Robert Kiltz, with offices in Latham/Albany, Syracuse and Rochester, we want you to understand every step of your treatment. Many clients wonder why we need to perform so many ultrasounds and blood draws. Monitoring a woman through the many different stages of her menstrual cycle is necessary to find a potential missing piece. So many events need to occur in order to provide the best chance of conception. Reviewing the hormone levels in the blood and monitoring changes in the uterus and the ovaries are key components to evaluate these events, thus requiring frequent blood draws and ultrasounds.
It all starts with the first day of a woman’s menstrual cycle. We will bring you into the office for what is called baseline blood work and a vaginal ultrasound, usually on the second or third day of menses. This is the time when things are mainly quiet, as the ovaries are getting ready to stimulate and produce follicles. Follicles are the fluid filled sac within the ovary which houses the egg. At this time a woman may feel uncomfortable about having the vaginal ultrasound, this is normal apprehension. This is a routine ultrasound and is done with the utmost respect for your feelings. We are looking at the uterus for any abnormalities and at the ovaries for any signs of a cyst.
The blood work will evaluate the hormone levels. With a normal baseline exam you may begin stimulation through various treatments as determined by one of our physicians at consultation. We will continue to monitor your progress with blood work and ultrasound throughout the cycle, as often as every other day and occasionally, everyday. While this may seem like an inconvenience, it allows us to optimize the cycle and increase the chance of conception. The ultrasound will give us information about the follicles that are being produced, the quantity and the size. The follicle(s) have to reach a certain size before they are considered mature. When the follicles are mature, ovulation should occur and hormone levels may indicate pending ovulation.
During treatment ovulation may be triggered with a hormone injection. The blood work is done with every ultrasound. We monitor certain hormone levels which fluctuate during the cycle and we correlate these labs with the ultrasound. The goal in frequent monitoring is to enhance our ability to pinpoint when ovulation will be likely to occur, thus, increasing the odds for you to achieve pregnancy.
Although the only true test of ovulation is pregnancy, the ability to gain valuable information from frequent blood draws and ultrasounds will assist in that goal. We want you to have a successful journey and we appreciate just how valuable your time is. We will make every attempt to accommodate your scheduling needs. We too want to minimize the stress associated with frequent office visits.
Please do not hesitate to ask us how we can make your schedule easier for you. Please contact us at 800.539.9870 (toll free) if you would like more information or have any questions regarding your care.
Sheila Miller, RT RDMS
Ultrasonographer and Radiology Technician
CNY Fertility Center, Latham, NY