What is Cycle Monitoring?Cycle monitoring uses blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor a menstrual cycle. It gives your doctor important insights into your fertility, such as how a follicle in the ovary develops during the cycle, blood hormone levels throughout the cycle, and/or whether and when ovulation is occurring.
When to Monitor your CycleTypically, cycle monitoring is the first step in an aspiring parent’s fertility care. At TRIO, cycle monitoring is part of all treatment cycles, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine insemination (IUI), and more. It plays a key role in the fertility treatment process as it allows your medical team to properly time interventions to maximize the chance of pregnancy. There are natural and medicated cycles. If yours is a natural cycle, this can give the doctor a lot of information about what’s going on, helping them to determine a diagnosis and treatment plan). Both natural and medicated cycles are observed with cycle monitoring. Cycle monitoring is also used with timed intercourse or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), and is often considered in the following situations:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Anovulation (irregular or absence of ovulation)
- If a patient’s eggs are not maturing
- If the lining of the uterus is not thickening
The Cycle Monitoring Process
Once you have completed your initial fertility assessment and diagnostic testing, you’ll begin the cycle monitoring process.
Day 1 of Your Menstrual Cycle
Day 1 of your menstrual cycle is the first day that you begin bleeding. As soon as this occurs, you will email the Day 1 team to let them know that you have started menstruating. They will provide instructions about when to start your treatment cycle.
Monitoring Throughout Your Cycle
During your cycle, you will be required to come to the clinic for a series of blood tests to monitor your hormone levels and transvaginal ultrasounds over a 5-10 day period. The ultrasounds allow us to track the growth of follicles and the thickening of the uterine lining. You will also meet with a nurse from your team who will review with you any medications your doctor has prescribed, and show you how to self-administer injections, if applicable. Depending on clinic where you are undergoing cycle monitoring, you will receive information about next steps either from your nurse on via an app called iMineIVF.
Just before ovulation (around day 12-14), a sudden rise in one of the body’s hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH), occurs. This helps your medical team determine your best timing for intercourse or IUI. When this occurs, your nurse will tell you exactly when to take your “trigger medication” or a “trigger shot” to time ovulation.
If your doctor has prescribed timed intercourse for you and your partner, this should take place twice, at an interval of approximately 12 hours and again at 36 hours after you took the medication to trigger ovulation.
If your treatment protocol involves IUI, your nurse will tell you when to come back to the clinic for your procedure.
After your timed intercourse or your IUI, you will begin taking progesterone, which is used to support the luteal phase. You will start this medication the day after your second timed intercourse, or immediately after your IUI. Approximately two weeks later, we will book an appointment for you to return to the clinic for a pregnancy test.