Ultrasound scans for fertility treatment

A pelvic ultrasound scan, alongside blood tests, is the first step in diagnosing infertility problems and planning the right treatment for people who were assigned female at birth.

If you are struggling to conceive, your GP may refer you for an ultrasound scan to essentially find out what’s going on in your womb. There are several potential causes of infertility and an ultrasound scan is typically the first step to understanding your own circumstances.

A Fertility Pelvic Scan takes a detailed look at:

  • the size, shape and condition of the uterus (womb)

  • both ovaries

  • the pelvic area

  • the lining of the womb (also called the endometrium)

  • follicle measurement (this is a measurement that fertility clinics would use to inform treatment)

This is done transvaginally, which means the sonographer will ask for your consent to insert an ultrasound probe into your vagina.

What happens at a fertility ultrasound scan?

At a private fertility ultrasound scan you’ll first be greeted at the clinic reception. You’ll then meet your sonographer, who will explain the transvaginal procedure and confirm that you consent to a transvaginal ultrasound scan. They’ll also ask whether you have a full bladder – this is important to get the clearest images possible. There will also be a chaperone present to make sure that everyone involved in the procedure feels secure and comfortable. The sonographer and chaperone will give you privacy to remove any necessary clothing and lie down comfortably on the sanitised table.  

The sonographer will talk you through their movements and insert the transvaginal ultrasound probe into your vagina. This will likely be uncomfortable, but should not be painful. Make sure you talk to your sonographer so they can help you be as comfortable as possible. The sonographer will observe the images on the ultrasound machine screen and talk you through what they see.

When the scan is finished, you’ll be given privacy to put your clothing back on. At Ultrasound Direct, you’ll receive a link directly to your images and scan report on the same day as your scan. They can also send your report and images directly to your fertility clinic or healthcare provider if you provide their contact details. At some scan providers you’ll need to download an app to view your images.

What about fertility blood tests?

An initial infertility test will also require an AMH blood test. This blood test checks your levels of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), which is produced by the ovaries and can indicate how high or low your ovarian reserve is. This means it can estimate how many remaining viable eggs you have, and therefore help assess your fertility. Some providers will offer a blood test and scan package for your convenience.

Your GP will then use the information from your scan images and detailed diagnostic report to recommend your next steps in fertility treatment. Booking a private fertility scan and blood test can help skip long waiting times, as you don’t require a referral to book.

The information recorded in your scan images and detailed diagnostic report provides the necessary baseline information that a fertility provider needs to plan your treatment. Most fertility providers will include an ultrasound scan and blood tests as part of an assessment package. Ultrasound Direct’s partner TFP Fertility UK includes a scan and blood test as part of their initial consultation, and uses local Ultrasound Direct clinics to make it easier for their patients to attend appointments close to home.

Will I need more scans during my fertility treatment?

After your initial assessment scan you may need further scans dependent on your treatment. For example, you may need an Endometrial Thickness Scan. The Endometrial Thickness Scan determines the thickness of the womb lining so your fertility provider can plan the best time for egg implantation. It also detects the presence or position of an intra uterine contraceptive device (IUCD or coil) to aid in its removal.

If you have a successful pregnancy as a result of fertility treatment, many providers will include an early pregnancy scan to provide reassurance as early as possible in your pregnancy. You can also book private scans for reassurance and to monitor your growing baby’s wellbeing with a qualified healthcare professional at providers such as Ultrasound Direct.