Ovulation tracking aims to determine the woman’s most fertile days by following the ovulation period and increase the chance of pregnancy by planning the relationship accordingly.
What is Ovulation Tracking?
The ovaries in women have two important functions:
1. Having regular ovulation,
2. Secretion of reproductive hormones such as estradiol and progesterone.
To fulfil these two important functions, the formation and regression of the corpus luteum occur in a regular cycle with the continuous development and maturation of follicles in the ovaries.
This cycle of the ovaries is under the control of hormones called gonadotropins secreted from the pituitary gland located in the lower part of the brain. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) are synthesised and secreted by the pituitary gland. These two hormones play the most important role in regulating the menstrual cycle and ovulation. In IVF treatment, gonadotropin is given to the woman externally to stimulate the ovaries to carry out the ovarian functions as required.
A woman with a menstrual cycle every 21-35 days is most likely ovulating. (As anovulation may occur in a small percentage of cases, the presence of ovulation can be confirmed by measuring progesterone in the blood during the luteal phase.)
Ovulation tracking aims to determine the woman’s most fertile days by following the ovulation time and increase the chance of pregnancy by planning the relationship accordingly.
A couple with regular intercourse 2 or 3 times a week does not need ovulation follow-up, as the sperm remains alive for about 72 hours after intercourse. In cases where regular intercourse is not possible for any reason, ovulation follow-up and relationship planning will be useful.
Many centres do not use the basic body temperature (BBT) chart method in determining the ovulation time is not used by many centres because it is not reliable and laborious.
Nowadays, the time of ovulation is usually determined by ultrasound follow-ups. Regular ultrasound examination of the ovaries during the follicular phase provides information about follicular development.
What is The Importance of Ultrasound in Determining The Time of Ovulation?
The female egg develops in a fluid-filled and thin-walled structure called a follicle in the ovaries. The egg is attached to the wall of the follicle. Usually, one follicle develops each month. The follicle’s growth can be monitored using a vaginal probe under ultrasound.
When the follicle reaches 7-8 mm in diameter, it becomes visible on ultrasound. The follicle is in the form of a round, fluid-filled sac in the ultrasound image. It grows at a rate of about 1-2 mm per day. When it reaches the size of 18 to 25 mm, it is ready to fertilize.
The best proof of ovulation is the complete disappearance of the follicle image on ultrasound. In this case, it is observed that there is mostly fluid in the abdominal cavity, behind the uterus. This is the fluid that drains from the follicle when the egg cracks. Follicles that do not develop or do not reach sufficient size or do not crack even though they have reached sufficient size can also be visualized on ultrasound.
Ultrasonography is an important tool in planning intercourse time, making it possible to monitor follicle development. At the same time, it is very important to monitor follicle development with ultrasound in patients whose ovaries need to be stimulated with drugs.
Ultrasound follow-ups generally start from the 11th day of the menstrual cycle; done daily. The procedure takes about five minutes and does not require preparation other than emptying the urine.
Ovulation Tracker at Home
There are also ready-made home-use tests that allow subjective monitoring of the LH level in the woman’s urine on certain days after the onset of menstruation. Thus, it can be learned by the women that ovulation will occur by the positive LH in the urine, and their doctor can give the couple an appropriate mating schedule.
What is Abnormal Ovulation?
An abnormality in ovulation can take several forms. These are as follows:
- A woman’s menstrual cycles shorter than 21 days or longer than 35 days usually indicate no ovulation (anovulation).
- Some patients may have periods without menstruation for three months or longer. This is called infrequent menses (oligomenorrhea).
- The absence of periods is called amenorrhea.
A woman’s regular menstrual cycle depends on the correct functioning of many hormonal systems in the body. To investigate the cause of ovulation problems, the hormones that make up these systems should be examined at the blood level.
You can visit our IVF Turkey page to get detailed information about IVF treatment and how the processes work in Turkey.