Once you have taken five days of stimulation treatments, you’ll undergo your first ultrasound and blood test, which will continue every day or two until your eggs are collected. Your doctor uses these tests to check your oestrogen and progesterone levels, your follicle size, and the thickness of your uterine lining. When they are all at the right levels and sizes, you’ll be given the go-ahead for your Trigger Shot.
This is a very emotional stage, and you’ll be given a lot of information – try not to get overwhelmed! Ask as many questions as you need to to understand the treatment and put your mind at ease.
Here are some of the most common questions at this stage:
What is the best follicle size for egg retrieval?
Your follicles will ideally be between 18 to 20 millimetres. Through the early stimulation stages, your follicle will grow more slowly. As they grow larger, the closer they are to being ready for collection
When your follicles reach between 12 to 14mm, they begin to grow at a rate of around 2mm each day. Many women end up with between ten to twelve follicles, but many factors can determine the number, including your age. Remember, not every follicle contains an egg.
How many mature follicles should I have for retrieval?
You should have at least three to four 18 – 20mm follicles.
How thick should my uterine lining be?
Your uterine lining should not be lower than 7mm. You will be given progesterone towards the end of your IVF cycle to maintain these levels.
What is the ideal oestrogen level?
Every woman has different oestrogen levels, but if your baseline level on days 2 to 5 is between oestrogen 60-150pmol without stimulation, you’re in a good place. If your levels are higher or lower, your doctor will adjust the treatment. If your level is too high, they may stop your stimulation and defer the Trigger Shot, or decide to retrieve your eggs now but delay the embryo transfer until your levels return to normal. If you are at risk of hyper ovarian stimulation syndrome (OHSS), your cycle might be cancelled.
We know that there is a lot to think about at this stage, but keep thinking about all of the reasons you are taking this journey.