Bourn Hall Clinic Colchester is to extend its ultrasound scanning service to offer additional reassurance for women during pregnancy.
Until now, their sophisticated scanner has only been used during fertility treatment and for confirmation of pregnancy at seven weeks. However, following patients’ requests, the Colchester clinic will now offer scans throughout the whole of pregnancy.
“Pregnancy can be an anxious time and women who have had IVF treatment may feel this more acutely,” says Ken Read, Sonographer at Bourn Hall Clinic. “Although an IVF pregnancy is no different to one conceived naturally, our patients have said that they would appreciate the reassurance that a timely scan can provide and the extended contact with our nurses. By offering a service during pregnancy we can maintain a point of contact for those who want it, particularly during the early stages.”
The clinic provides a full range of fertility services to both NHS funded and self funding patients and as a result, already has significant expertise in scanning. Ultrasound is often used for monitoring the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes both before and during fertility treatment and an ultrasound scan is also performed in theatre during the egg retrieval and embryo transfer processes.
Previously, following successful IVF treatment, a patient would only return to the clinic for a single ultrasound scan at 7 weeks. A scan at this stage is used to ensure all is well with the pregnancy and confirms foetal number. After this, the woman is referred back to her consultant.
“Generally, women will receive two pregnancy ultrasound scans on the NHS, one at twelve weeks and one at 20 weeks,” explains Ken, who has over 25 years experience in sonography. “However, some women, especially if they have had a previous miscarriage or other concern, feel that being able to request additional scans would be of great benefit.”
A further state of the art scanner is being purchased to support the new service and a full range of ultrasound packages will be available. By extending their services, Bourn Hall Clinic in Colchester will give couples more control over how many scans they receive and at what intervals. It is hoped that by making scans available throughout pregnancy, parents-to-be will be provided with a greater sense of reassurance than would otherwise be available to them.
Alongside traditional ultrasound scans, the clinic also has the facilities to scan in three or four dimensions (3D or 4D). These scans allow parents to see their baby in remarkable detail and four-dimensional scans can even be recorded onto DVD. The recommended time for 3D and 4D scans is between 24-32 weeks, as at this stage the baby has fully developed facial features and can still move around with relative ease.
“Our current priority is to offer scans to women who have had fertility treatment with us, so that they can continue their journey with the support Bourn Hall Clinic can offer,” says Ken. “However, I am delighted to say that with the new scanner, we will also be able to offer this service to any pregnant ladies who may be seeking additional reassurance.”