Female IVF Diagnostic Tests
When you’re trying to conceive and you need fertility treatment, we have a range of female IVF diagnostic tests which can diagnose your fertility issue and enables us to give you the most appropriate treatment.
You can read about the tests below, and you can be assured that we will only ever do testing when it’s appropriate and will make a difference to your treatment, enhancing your chances of success.
Endometrial receptivity analysis (ERA) is a way of finding out when the lining of the womb – known as the endometrium - is most receptive. This helps us to decide a time for your embryo transfer that’s most likely to result in success.
Could ERA be right for me?
Embryo transfer is one of the most important stages of your IVF treatment. Sometimes, though, the embryo won’t implant, and this could be because of a problem with the endometrium.
If we think this could be an issue for you, we might suggest endometrial receptivity analysis. If you’re still unsure whether it might be an option, talk to your local clinic or contact us for support. ERA is a relatively new test so we are still gathering information on its effectiveness.
What does ERA involve?
We can carry out ERA testing either during your natural cycle, or during a cycle prompted by medication.
During the test, which is similar to a smear, we’ll take a biopsy of the womb lining then analyse the tissue to determine when your endometrium will be most receptive – we call this the window of implantation. We can then use these findings to determine the timing of your embryo transfer, which could increase the chance of successful implantation.
Hormone screening and testing can give us an indication of everything from how many eggs you’re able to produce, to whether you might have an underlying medical condition – and all of this information will help us to give you the right fertility treatment.
Could testing my hormones be for me?
If you’re a new patient or suffering from unexplained fertility problems we’re likely to suggest hormone screening, as it can really help us to better understand your needs.
In women, we can use hormone screening to explore possible causes of irregular cycles and check your ovarian reserves, which helps us to understand how many eggs you might be able to produce during treatment. In men, particular hormones can be good indicators of how much sperm you’re able to produce.
What does hormone screening involve?
Almost all hormone screenings involve a simple blood test. Depending on what we’re looking to find out, there are a number of things we might be checking for.
To get an indication of your ovarian reserves, we’ll analyse your levels of antimullerian hormone (AMH) and/or do an antral follicle count (AFC), which involves a simple ultrasound scan. We might also look at your levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) as a measure of ovarian reserve.
There are lots of reasons why your cycle might be a little irregular, and it could be caused by hormones. We can check for prolactin, androgens, and thyroxine – which is produced by the thyroid – to see whether they could be part of the problem.
The pre-treatment pelvic ultrasound helps us to plan your treatment. This type of ultrasound, also known as a 3D trans-vaginal pelvic ultrasound scan, helps us to get a much clearer picture of your womb, ovaries, and pelvis. We also use it to check the quality of your womb lining – the endometrium – and to calculate the dosage of drugs you might need for IVF treatment.
Could a pelvic ultrasound be for me?
Taking a closer look at your womb, ovaries, and pelvis allows us to look for any problems or conditions as well as decide how much medication you might need to produce the right number of eggs for treatment.
There’s a lot we can find out using a pre-treatment ultrasound scan, so we’re likely to recommend it to most patients considering IVF or ICSI.
What does a pelvic ultrasound involve?
Ultrasound is an imaging technique that uses high frequency sound waves to get pictures of the inside of the body without using X-rays. For this type of ultrasound scan we use a specially designed ultrasound probe, which is gently inserted into the vagina in a safe, short, and painless procedure. We then move the ultrasound probe into different positions to clearly visualise the uterus and ovaries.
By doing a trans-vaginal scan, we're able to get the probe closer to the pelvic organs to get a better picture – meaning we can get a much better idea of your needs.
Recurrent implantation failure screening
There can be many reasons behind recurrent miscarriages or implantation failures.
If you've experienced a miscarriage or implantation failure, there are many tests we can offer depending on your individual circumstances. Depending on what we discover, we can offer you different treatments to then increase your chances of successful implantation.
If you would like more information on any of these tests and to find out if they are suitable for you, you will be able to discuss with your doctor at your consultation. We also have detailed Patient Information documents on all of our tests and treatments.
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What are the risks of the treatments?
If you are considering using any of the therapies listed then your doctor will make sure the medication or treatment is safe for you and explain the possible risks and/or side effects. We have separate information leaflets that include this information.
Each of the above treatments has its own detailed information document and you should read that document carefully before you decide to have any relevant investigations and/or treatments.