A pelvic sonogram (or ultrasound) is one of the most commonly performed procedures for fertility specialists. A thin probe is inserted into the vaginal to get a direct view of the reproductive organs (uterus and ovaries). The fallopian tubes are not seen well during this test. Sound waves pass from the probe and are reflected back by the body tissues and that data is translated into images. This is a painless procedure.
It has different uses depending on when it is performed during the menstrual cycle. A scan done early in the cycle can be used for an overall view of anatomy and for measurement of the basal antral follicle count (a measure of ovarian reserve). A scan done during the follicular phase can tell us how a woman is responding to ovulation induction medications (a type of fertility treatment). This gives us a chance to adjust her medications. This is especially important during an IVF cycle when large doses of gonadotropins (injectable medications) are being given.
At the midpoint of the menstrual cycle, the sonogram can tell us how close a woman is to ovulation. This allows us to better pinpoint the ideal time for intrauterine insemination (IUI) or intercourse.