What happens during cycle monitoring?
Depending on the reason for cycle monitoring, the doctor will monitor one monthly menstrual cycle of the woman. In addition, more ultrasound and hormone tests are conducted:
- The first examination is usually between the third and fifth day of the cycle. At the same time, the doctor checks the woman’s hormone levels. At this point, the blood levels of hormones that are responsible for or may interfere with egg maturation are of particular interest. This includes follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), thyroid hormones, the stress hormone prolactin and the so-called “male” hormones (androgens). It is also possible to estimate the egg reserves by measuring the anti-Müller hormone (AMH). In addition, the woman’s ovaries and womb are examined using ultrasound.
- The second examination is usually between the 10th and 12th day of the cycle, shortly before the expected ovulation. Once again, the doctor checks the woman’s hormone levels. An ultrasound examination reveals whether a follicle has actually matured, whether the endometrium has developed and its thickness, and whether the cervix is already open so that the sperm can easily pass through to the womb.
- In the third examination, about a week after ovulation, hormone levels are once again checked – in particular progesterone levels (yellow body hormone). Progesterone plays an important role in the implantation of the embryo in the endometrium, amongst other things.
Should the woman’s menstrual cycle be longer or very irregular, further examinations are conducted – mostly in the space of a few days. A cycle examination can also be done over several cycles, if necessary.