The assessment of ovulation by a combination of ultrasound and detailed serial hormone profiles in 35 women with long-standing unexplained infertility

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1985 Jun;22(6):739-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.1985.tb00164.x.


We have examined for the presence of subtle hormonal abnormalities in women with long-standing unexplained infertility. For a full cycle serum LH, FSH, progesterone and oestradiol levels were measured about three times a week, and serial ultrasound scans of the ovaries made until the time of apparent ovulation. The results on 45 cycles in 35 women with unexplained infertility and in three normal volunteers are presented. Normal ovulatory cycles were defined by a length of 26-32 d, and progressive follicular maturation followed by disappearance or abrupt reduction in size of a follicle within 48 h of the recorded LH peak, followed by progressive and sustained rise in serum progesterone levels to more than 25 nmol/l and a luteal phase length of greater than or equal to 13 d. Thirty spontaneous cycles (28 women) were clearly normal while 15 spontaneous cycles (12 women) were abnormal. Abnormalities included luteinization of an unruptured follicle (eight cycles), absence of follicular development (two cycles), poor follicular development (two cycles), persistence of a large ovarian cyst from the preceeding cycle (two cycles) and one aluteal cycle. Six of the abnormal cycles were characterized hormonally by inappropriate elevation of serum LH levels throughout. If this study had been based only on serial ultrasound scans, all results on abnormal cycles might have been misinterpreted. If it had been conducted only with (multiple) progesterone determinations and the level of greater than 25 nmol/l had been taken as indicative of ovulation nine clearly abnormal cycles would have been considered as normal. We conclude that the combination of the hormonal and ultrasound assessment of ovulation increases our confidence for confirmation of normality and reveals various ovulatory disorders which are possibly due to an endocrinological defect or defects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Hormones / blood*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / blood*
  • Infertility, Female / pathology
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Ovarian Follicle / pathology
  • Ovary / pathology
  • Ovulation*
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Ultrasonography*


  • Hormones
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone