What to expect during egg retrieval: A major step in IVF and egg donation
Many patients have questions about what to expect during egg retrieval. Egg retrieval is the extraction of your mature eggs for fertilization in the embryology lab. It occurs after approximately two weeks of taking ovarian stimulation medications. Our Las Vegas IVF doctors are here to ease any anxiety you may have about this step.
After you receive anesthesia, the doctor uses ultrasound guidance to insert a needle through the top of the vagina and into each ovarian follicle. These follicles are the fluid “nests” that house each egg. The doctor drains the follicular fluid and your eggs from each follicle. Our embryology team collects the eggs, and our IVF lab will process them for either freezing or fertilization.
In the days before your procedure, you will visit with your doctor to discuss the details of what to expect during egg retrieval and recovery.
Who will perform my egg retrieval?
One of our Las Vegas IVF doctors will perform this procedure. Typically, your egg retrieval will be performed by the physician who has been managing your care. However, one of our other expert IVF doctors will sometimes step in to perform this procedure when needed.
An egg retrieval also requires an entire room of staff to assist. You will meet with one of our nurse anesthetists and our pre-op/post-op nurses. You’ll also meet the medical assistants who prepare and run the operating room, as well as a member of the embryology team.
Your fertility specialist and the FCLV support team will make sure that you are fully informed about what to expect during egg retrieval. Their goal is that you remain comfortable and safe while we retrieve as many mature eggs as possible.
What side effects are normal?
Throughout the procedure, you will be comfortable. You will likely have some cloudy memory of the day due to the anesthesia. Occasionally, some patients receive anesthesia through an epidural rather than through the IV alone, for safety reasons.
As with any procedure, you may experience some discomfort during your recovery. Your doctor will discuss pain control before the procedure. It is also normal to have some vaginal spotting for a few days after the retrieval, eventually followed by menstrual bleeding.
Very heavy bleeding, fevers, acute and severe pain, vomiting or fainting are very rare and unexpected events during the recovery period that require medical attention.
What happens after egg retrieval?
Bring someone with you who can drive you home after the procedure. You should not drive for 24 hours after receiving anesthesia. We recommend only light activity until you have your menstrual period. You should place nothing in the vagina during this time. This includes abstaining from sexual intercourse. Your ovaries may remain enlarged for one to two weeks after ovarian stimulation and retrieval. As a result, you may continue to feel full and bloated until you get your period. Be sure to stay very well hydrated.
The laboratory will keep you updated about how many eggs were retrieved and will inform you of how many embryos developed, after they have had five to seven days to grow. All good-quality embryos at the blastocyst stage will be frozen. This is also when a biopsy of the embryo is performed if you have elected to do preimplantation genetic testing. During recovery, you can begin to plan the next phase of treatment, which is the embryo transfer.
What can I do to increase my comfort during and after egg retrieval?
Be sure to have ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen at home to begin taking after your retrieval, if you are able to take these medications. We advise against using medications like ibuprofen during your stimulation unless they are necessary and approved by your doctor.
You will need to abstain from taking any food, water or medications by mouth the morning of the procedure. However, you may resume a normal diet and medications after you are discharged that day. Gentle heat packs and warm showers can help relieve any post-procedure discomfort. However, we do not recommend soaking in a bath or hot tub until you get your period.
What will FCLV do to increase my comfort?
Our anesthesia and nursing team will make sure that you have excellent pain control before the procedure and through the post-operative recovery period.
Some patients may experience nausea with anesthesia, and our team is well-equipped to prevent this common side effect. If you have had previous side effects from anesthesia, be sure to discuss them with the nurse anesthetist.
How can I expect to feel at my egg retrieval?
Our team will keep you safe and comfortable during this important step of IVF. You will also likely feel a sense of relief that you are one step closer to growing your family.
If you are undergoing an egg retrieval as one of our donors, you have reached the final step of the process. Thank you for this wonderful gift. Our center and our families are forever grateful.
To learn more about what to expect during egg retrieval, or to schedule an appointment with one of our Las Vegas IVF doctors, contact us.