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When my husband and I started on this journey in 2006, I found it was easy to research the science of PGD, but what I really wanted to hear was the patient's perspective.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Hycosy or 3D SIS

On Monday, I had my Hycosy or 3D SIS as it is also called.

I spent the first part of the morning, buying laminate flooring for my new house.  I don’t usually have chance to get any jobs done on the days when I have hospital appointments but Monday’s appointment was later than normal.  I arrived at St Pancras, London for 13:45 after a 2hr 20 minute train journey.  The train was late, so I had to rush the fifteen minute walk to the hospital.  On arrival I was asked to sign a consent form for a 3D SIS.  I had no idea what a 3D SIS was, but the receptionist told me it’s another name for a Hycosy.  The Hycosy appointment was over in about 15 minutes.

 The Hycosy procedure

This is my fourth Hycosy.  The first time I had a Hycosy I was very anxious and it helped to have Steve with me.  Once I was ready, a catheter was inserted through the cervix and into the uterus.  The doctor then explained what she was doing as she filled my uterus with water.  I could see her doing it with a large syringe.  In the meantime, I was being scanned and could see pictures of my uterus on the scanning machine.  The doctor and her assistant checked for problems that may need treating before an embryo gets put in there.

You have a lot of scans when you do IVF.  When I tell friends I am going for a scan, they assume they are done by putting a scanner on my tummy.  Actually they are done vaginally (internally) except for when you have the embryo transferred.

There was a little bit of pain when the catheter first got pushed through the cervix.  It felt a bit like period pain and only lasted for a few seconds.  After that it just felt uncomfortable, not painful.  The doctor continuously asked me if I was feeling pain so that she could stop if necessary.  I am sure the level of discomfort is different for every woman, but I bet for most women the anxiety turns out to be worse than the actual procedure.  That was certainly the case for me the first time I had it done.  Nowadays, I think nothing of the actual procedure.  The logistics of getting myself to London, rearranging work and organising childcare cause me a far bigger headache than the actual appointment.

I am told everything looks normal and am given instructions to abstain from swimming, baths and sex for the next 2 days.    This is all because of the risk of infection.

Seeing the Nurses

After almost every appointment and scan, I go and see a nurse and Monday was no different.  On this occasion, I needed to pick up antibiotics.

My notes hadn’t been filled in properly and the nurse thought I was about to have a frozen embryo transfer.   I explained that I am about to start a new IVF cycle and she disappeared off to investigate.  I was expecting to pick up my drugs ready for the new cycle but it seems no doctor has looked at my notes and made a plan for me so they can’t give me the drugs.  

I am pretty confident I know which drugs I will be having as I have had the same for all five previous cycles of IVF, but procedures have to be followed, so I leave the hospital with just my antibiotics.  I am told to call when I start my next cycle (i.e. get my period) and they will post me the drugs.  As I live so far away, the nurse helpfully posts me what I need where possible.  I don’t expect to come back to London again until the New Year when my treatment begins.


When I arrived home, I made a mistake and ate a snack.  Remembering my antibiotics were supposed to be taken on an empty stomach, I waited 45 mins and then took all four tablets.  I then had to wait an hour before I could eat any dinner but by the time I was able to eat, I felt really sick.  I ate a small bit of food in case it would help the sickness go away, but eventually I just decided to go to bed.   The next morning I felt fine again.

Here is a picture of my womb (or uterus).  Not many people have photographs of their womb!  I will post all of the scan pictures as I get them.  As I start the IVF treatment they get more interesting as you can see the follicles growing.

In this picture you can see the ‘cavity’ of the womb (the black triangular shape) and the grey bit surrounding it is the womb lining where an embryo would implant if I were to get pregnant this month.

My womb
N.B.  Often a Hycosy is done in conjunction with a dummy embryo transfer (a trial run of an embryo transfer).   I did not need a dummy embryo transfer on this occasion so have only written about the Hycosy.

Further Information:


  1. Yesterday I had a 3D SIS and a dummy embryo transfer in preperation for strating my treatment next month. I found the dummy embryo transfer very painful and the doctor decided that she was unabe to continue to try to pass the tube through my cervix. The 3D SIS was only a little uncomfortable. When I go back to London for my IVF scan they have decided to insert a dilapan. This is a small tube which makes the cervix cannal larger so that if I hopefully have embryos to transfer back it will not be as dificult or painful. The dilapan is inserted for 4 hours then removed. I am starting priolut on Friday, cant belive everything is starting now! Nervous but excited too! Lucy

  2. Hi Anon,

    That's the point of the dummy embryo transfer so they can be prepared for any of those sort of issues when they do the real go.

    Hope the treatment is going well!


  3. Hi Shona,

    Not sure why it came up anon but its Lucy - we have met at the conferences.
    I had the dilapan inserted and first IVF scan yesterday. The dilapan was pain free (surprisingly!) just the 4 hour wait on the premises was the awful bit!
    I start my injections today, cant believe how complicated it all seems! Then from Sunday until egg collection we are going to stay with friends in Kent so that we dont have such a long journey every other day.
    Hopefully see you again at the conference in Newcastle.

  4. Hello Lucy!

    Are you in your two week wait now then? Fingers crossed that you got an embryo to transfer.

    Let me know the status, I'll be thinking of you. Maybe I'll see you at the conference again in a few weeks time. Are you going?


    1. Hi Shona,

      Unfortunately I didnt have an embryo to transfer, but I do now have a frozen blastocyst suitable for transfer - which will hopefully be happening in June/July. It was an inconclusive result, so that's why it ended up being frozen. My mum and I will be at the conference next weekend, look forward to seeing you there.


  5. Sorry you didn't have an embryo but good that you have one now at least. Must have been so disappointing though.

    I didn't see you at the conference. Were you there? I wa slookign out for you. I didn't get to see much of it because I was having to look afterthe children. I might not take them next time. Dexter is the wrong age for sitting quietly so had to keep him out of the talks.

    When is your frozen embryo transfer?

  6. Hi,
    No I didnt make it to the conference as we had an appointment in CRGH today, so travelling would have been too much. Was pretty annoyed with going to CRGH today, its a 4 hour journey for us and it was just a 15min appointment to tell us we have two options, either transfer the frozen embryo or do another cycle first. Did they ever do any consultations over the phone for you?

  7. Yes, I remember that annoyance well! Sometimes I used to push for them to try and do some things locally (e.g. HIV tests) but it was always more of a nuisance than it was worth. Stuff always went wrong. In the end I gave up trying. We never did any appointments over the phone. I don't see why we couldn't have in theory but they have their way of working and seems like you just have to go along with it.

    Sorry we didn't get to see you.



I love comments! Whether they are tips and information for other readers or a hello to me to let me know you're reading, I welcome the support. So please feel free to comment away! Shona