When should a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) be done?

Dear Professor Winston,
I’ve had three cycles of IVF and, after reading your latest book, have just found out that I’m one of the many who’ve never had an HSG. My clinic are saying that this can only be carried out day 6-10 of my cycle which will mean another month’s delay for me when time is of the essence (I’m now 41 and have been trying to conceive for over 13 years!). Is this information right or can it be carried out any time during your cycle? P.S, please take over NICE and HFEA! C.

Dear C,

This is not true. An HSG can be done any time during the cycle, providing there is no chance of your being pregnant. It is obviously preferable not to do the test while you are having a period. The reason for clinics insisting that an HSG is done during the first 14 days of the cycle is the very low-grade risk of giving x-rays to a developing pregnancy – but I must emphasise it is not clear whether such a low dose of X-rays has ever damaged a fetus and whether somebody is capable of getting pregnant at all during a cycle when an HSG is done. Some clinics like to make sure that their patients are not pregnant ask them to use contraception during that cycle, or abstain from sex completely.

Best wishes
Robert Winston