Detection Of An Early Embryo Heartbeat Is A Significant Milestone
It was such an exciting end to the year for a number of my patients, with news of positive pregnancy tests. However for those who have been on the fertility journey for a while the joy is often short lived before anxiety sets in. The next reassuring step for many people is positive ultrasound imaging of an embryo heartbeat. This is usually detectable around 6.5 weeks. If an embryo heartbeat is not detected at this point, it could be due to variations in menstrual cycle length. Because of this some fertility specialists will suggest the scan is done closer to the 8 week mark calculated from your last menstrual cycle date.
Statistically, a positive embryo heartbeat scan gives around a 96% likely positive outcome in terms of live, healthy baby birth rates. So this is a significant mile stone on the fertility journey. This is because the most common cause of miscarriages in the first trimester is thought to be due to embryo defects. The high rate of cell division that occurs in the first 4-5 weeks is when most defects will show up and cause the embryo to stop developing. In women who have had recurrent miscarriages there can be other causes and because of this the positive outcomes statistic is lower.
In the space between Christmas and New Years, the gifts continued for one of my patients using an IUI sperm donor. She chose to use an integrated approach to prepare her body prior to achieving a successful pregnancy with her first child. After unsuccessful attempts to have a second child she decided to use the same integrated approach again. This is her first image confirming her second baby’s positive heartbeat. With no history of recurrent miscarriage, it is reasonable to assume that by maintaining good health this patient should have her second live, healthy baby later this year. Very exciting news!