Follicular tracking can be used to track a woman's natural cycle. It is a helpful guide for both the fertility team and the couple to have a greater understanding of the individual’s ovulatory pattern. Follicular tracking is normally performed by vaginal ultra sound scans from Day 9 of the menstrual cycle (Day 1 being the first day of bleeding). The scan will enable the follicle (fluid filled sacs which can contain an egg) in the ovary to be measured. When the follicles measure a certain size it can then be estimated when ovulation is likely to occur. The female will be advised when to have timed sexual intercourse prior to ovulation in order for fertilization to occur.
Follicular tracking can be used in conjunction with a number of treatments such as ovulation induction, super ovulation induction or IUI.
In any form of investigations or treatment a baseline ultra sound scan will be performed. This is to check the position of the uterus and to determine if there are fibroids or polyp’s present that could cause complications with an embryo implanting. The ovaries are also scanned and measured. The size of the ovaries can be an indicator of the female’s ovarian reserve. The ovarian reserve relates to the number of eggs present in the ovaries. The size of the ovaries may also be an indicator of how a woman may respond to the drugs used in fertility treatment. The eggs themselves cannot be seen in the ovary hence the measurement of the ovaries. In addition the number of antral follicles present at the beginning of the cycle may be noted. Antral follicles are small follicles that are reacting to the production of FSH produced from Day 2 to Day 6 of the cycle. These follicles will not all develop into mature follicles, only one/ two will continue to grow to become a dominant follicle. The number of antral follicles present acts as another indicator of the ovarian reserve.