Thursday, October 15, 2015

Follicular Studies (Ovulation Tracking) Can Be Nerve Wracking

When gynecologists are dealing with infertile couples, many of them advise ovulation tracking as the first line of "treatment". At a cursory glance, this seems to be quite sensible advice. The only thing you are required to do is go for regular ultrasound scans; these help you precisely time when you ovulate. You are told to have sex at this time and it’s the perfect formula to get pregnant: eggs + sperm= baby and you will get pregnant in the very first cycle.

Now one would ask- How can this possibly fail? especially if you are young and there is nothing abnormal in your test results! The main problem is that patients have very unrealistic expectations from follicle tracking; even in a perfect cycle, the success rate is only around 10%.

A Tedious Exercise

It’s important  to keep in mind that human reproduction isn’t efficient and just getting the timing right for sex, doesn’t help (unless of course , you haven’t ever had sex at  the right time earlier). Doctors tend to forget the downside of ordering ovulation tracking tests. You obviously have to take time out from work and go to the clinic for the ultrasound scans and after a while, this can get stressful and nerve wracking. What’s probably worse is that it also plays havoc with your sex life.

Crazy About Babies

When you are dealing with infertility, it can seem like you and your partner may be poles apart when it comes to the matter of having a baby. Most men are complacent in this respect and just feel that nature should take its course; and of course who can refute the fact that having frequent sex is a fun way of having a baby. What they can’t seem to fathom is why their wives are going all crazy about having a baby ; why they want  to  time sex ; and why they are obsessing over  things like eggs and ovulation.

From a doctors perspective, by ordering scans, he may be doing what he thinks is right; but he doesn’t realize the stress he is adding to the couple’s life and marriage. Husbands detest being made to have sex on demand and they feel that they are no more than sperm donors who have to produce sperm when they are ordered to do so.

Regimented Sex can be a Spoiler

Not only does it take the fun quotient out of sex, but it fuels marital disharmony. This is because the wife is reluctant to have sex on any other days apart from those she ovulates on, as she wants her husband to "hoard" the good sperm! Any couple that is dealing with infertility is already under a lot of stress and, in most cases this regimented sex becomes the last straw.

The Better Option

Also, doctors forget that  it’s undignified to have to lie with your legs akimbo for the scan and have a doctor carry out the ultrasound by inserting a probe into your vagina, on a daily basis- this can prove to be a major dampener and the woman just ends up losing her appetite  for sex.

My advice is that no more than one cycle of ovulation tracking is necessary. This has its merits because it teaches you to correlate the scan findings with your body's signals, including cervical mucus and ovulation pain. Scanning also allows you to make better use of OPKs and the free online fertility calculator in future cycles.

Because you understand what's happening to your body, you do not have to medicalise baby-making sex in future cycles, and track ovulation discreetly at home! However, if your doctor advises repeated follicular studies, please get a second opinion; or else you risk getting frustrated!

Need help in getting pregnant ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at so that I can guide you better!

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