Chances of Getting Pregnant After an HSG Test

Chances of Getting Pregnant After an HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) Test

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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Childbirth is one of the greatest joys in life. Ask new parents, and they will affirm this feeling. The feeling of holding a newborn in your arms for the first time is simply amazing. Euphoria is the word that best describes those tender moments. If you have recently become parents, we know you can understand what we say.

Unfortunately, some couples don’t get to experience this joy. They are unable to conceive even after trying repeatedly. The causes of infertility are many, but so are the infertility treatments. One such treatment option is the HSG. If you’re trying to get pregnant but in vain, find out if pregnancy after hsg test is possible.

What Is a Hysterosalpingogram?

A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a procedure that uses an X-ray to check a woman’s uterus and to see if the fallopian tubes are clear. This X-ray procedure involves administering an iodine dye via the cervix into the uterus to take pictures. The procedure takes less than 10 minutes, and nothing is to worry about.

Can You Get Pregnant After an HSG Test?

In the HSG test, a dye, usually iodine, is injected into the uterus of the woman via the cervix, and then X-ray images are taken. The dye reaches the fallopian tubes and provides more explicit pictures to the doctor. This enables them to pinpoint the cause of infertility with greater accuracy. If any injuries or blockages occur in the tubes, it shows up in the images taken afterwards. This makes it easy to find the reason for infertility and treat it accordingly.

While the HSG test is primarily for diagnostic purposes, it has been observed that it increases the chances of getting pregnant naturally in infertile women. The pregnancy rate after an HSG test is believed to be around 2 to 3 times higher than in women who have not undergone this test before. The test itself is not an infertility treatment; it is done to merely understand the reasons for infertility. But many women get pregnant after undergoing this test. The reasons for the same are not known, though. Therefore, getting pregnant after undergoing the HSG test may be a coincidence. It may also be due to some unknown reason in the procedure of carrying out the test. While HSG tests are not a treatment for infertility in any way, infertile women have a greater chance of getting pregnant after taking this test. Therefore, it is worth a shot.

A woman at doctor's

An HSG Test With a Water-Based or Oil-Based Contrast

A part of the test of HSG for pregnancy involves injecting dye into the woman’s uterus via her cervix. This is done so the X-ray becomes more transparent and the doctor can identify any potential harm or injury within the cervix. After injecting the dye into the uterus, the technician can see the uterine shape much more clearly. However, there is another function for this contrast; it is tubal flushing. Tubal flushing means the injected dye clears any blockages on the way to the fallopian tubes, making it easier for sperm to swim to the ovum. This helps the sperm fertilise the egg and increases the chances of pregnancy. If tubal flushing is carried out as a therapeutic measure, there is no need to take an X-ray afterwards. Tubal flushing can be carried out with water-soluble, oil-soluble, or combined contrasts.

There’s no stark improvement in pregnancy rates when a water-soluble or combined contrast is used. However, using the oil-soluble contrast can lead to pregnancy. For couples who had undergone this procedure, their odds increased by around 25%.

If you have doubts regarding the health of your uterus while undergoing this procedure, we have answered some common questions that most couples have. Read on –

1. Can an X-Ray Affect Eggs?

The X-ray does not affect the eggs in any way, as the eggs are always in a state of maturation arrest before fertilisation occurs. When the X-ray procedure is carried out, very less radiation passes through the female’s body, and it does not damage the eggs in any way. It also doesn’t harm the growing foetus.

2. Can the Dye Harm the Eggs, Embryo, or Foetus?

The dye may harm the foetus if injected during pregnancy. The dye may also affect the chances of getting pregnant after hysterosalpingogram. However, if carried on properly with skill, it does not harm the eggs or the embryo. The procedure is timed well to ensure no harm comes the baby’s way.

What Is the Ideal Time Period for HSG Test?

The HSG test is commonly used to evaluate the fallopian tubes and the uterus for potential causes of infertility or recurrent miscarriages. It involves the injection of a contrast dye into the cervix, which then fills the uterus and the fallopian tubes. X-ray images assess these reproductive structures’ shape, size, and condition. By scheduling the HSG test during the appropriate period in the menstrual cycle, medical practitioners can obtain accurate and reliable results, aiding in the diagnosis and subsequent treatment planning for individuals experiencing fertility issues. 

The ideal time period for an HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) test is typically performed during the first half of a woman’s menstrual cycle. This is usually between days 7 and 10 after the start of her period. During this time, the lining of the uterus is thin, making it easier to visualise the fallopian tubes and the uterine cavity on the X-ray images taken during the procedure.

Why Does an HSG Test Increase the Chances of Pregnancy?

The process of injecting a dye into a woman’s uterus is meant to help get more precise X-rays or images of the uterus and fallopian tubes, but it can even contribute to fertilisation. When the dye moves to the fallopian tubes, it removes any blockages which may have occurred in the path and clears the way for the sperm to reach the fallopian tubes. This is called tubal flushing, which can help increase the chances of conception. Although tubal flushing is attempted in laparoscopy and is difficult to perform during the regular HSG test, sometimes, it does flush out any blockages leading to pregnancy.

How Long Does It Take to Get Pregnant After an HSG Test?

The chances of conception increase by around 25% in couples for up to three months after the test. Therefore, couples must try to get pregnant for 3 months after the test. Although this test helps most women get pregnant, it is not an infertility treatment. One should check with a doctor if they cannot get pregnant even after trying for days and months.

Is There Any Side Effects of the Test?

The HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) test is generally considered safe but may have potential side effects like any medical procedure. These symptoms typically resolve on their own within a day or two. In rare cases, serious side effects such as infection, allergic reaction to the contrast dye, or damage to the uterus or fallopian tubes may occur, although these are extremely rare. Here are a few side effects you may have to look out for if undergoing the HSG test: 

  1. Mild to moderate cramping during or after the test, similar to menstrual cramps. The procedure of the test is often painful. (6)
  2. Slight vaginal bleeding or spotting.
  3. Temporary discomfort or pain in the pelvic area.
  4. Feeling lightheaded or faint.
  5. Allergic reaction to the contrast dye (extremely rare).
  6. Infection (rare).
  7. Damage to the uterus or fallopian tubes (extremely rare).

FAQs

1. Can the Hsg Procedure Cause a Delay in Ovulation?

The HSG procedure itself does not typically cause a delay in ovulation. However, some women can experience a temporary disruption in their menstrual cycle following the test. This can occasionally result in a slight delay in ovulation. The disruption is usually short-lived, and ovulation should resume normally in subsequent cycles. It’s important to discuss any concerns or specific fertility issues with a healthcare professional who can provide individualised advice and guidance.

2. What Happens If I Was Pregnant During an Hsg?

If you are already pregnant during the HSG procedure, postponing or rescheduling the test is generally recommended. The X-ray radiation involved in the procedure can potentially harm the developing fetus. It is crucial to inform your healthcare provider if pregnancy is possible before undergoing the HSG test. They can advise you on the best course of action based on your circumstances. Generally, it is advisable to avoid unnecessary medical procedures during pregnancy to prioritise the well-being of both the mother and the baby.

As the injected dye helps clear blockages within the uterus, it makes it easier for the sperm to reach the ovum, thereby increasing the chances of pregnancy. Thus tubal flushing is worth a shot for couples trying to get pregnant. You can consider this test but try other options too. HSG tests are meant to be diagnostic tools to help doctors understand the problem in a woman, and they can or cannot lead to pregnancy. So don’t lose hope if you don’t get pregnant after undergoing this test. Try fertility treatments, and soon you will have your little one in your arms!

References/Resources:

1. Hysterosalpingogram; Cleveland Clinic; https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/22254-hysterosalpingogram

2. Dreyer K, van Rijswijk J, Mijatovic V, et al. Oil-based or water-based contrast for hysterosalpingography in infertile women; New England Journal of Medicine; https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1612337; May 2017

3. Welie. NV, Rosielle. K, Dreyer. K, et al.; How long does the fertility-enhancing effect of hysterosalpingography with oil-based contrast last?; ScienceDirect; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1472648320304715; December 2020

4. Hysterosalpingogram: How to Prepare, What to Expect, and Side Effects of the HSG Test; SCRC; https://blog.scrcivf.com/hysterosalpingogram-how-to-prepare-what-to-expect-side-effects-hsg-test; August 2017

5. Hysterosalpingogram (HSG); American Society of Reproductive Medicine; https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/hysterosalpingogram-hsg/

6. Wolf. S, HSG-The Good News and the Not As Good News; University Reproductive Associates; https://www.uranj.com/blog/hsg-the-good-news-and-the-not-as-good-news

7. Jarvela. IY, Tapanainen. JS, Martikainen. H; Improved pregnancy rate with administration of hCG after intrauterine insemination: a pilot study; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2838901/; February 2010

Also Read: 

Blocked Fallopian Tubes
How Long Does It Take To Get Pregnant?
Chances of Pregnancy Before, During and After Periods

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