What can I expect on egg retrieval day?

The day of Egg retrieval is an important and exciting one in the IVF journey. It is the day that all the mature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries to prepare them to be fertilized with sperm. As the egg retrieval is a medical procedure and is done under general anaesthesia, patients can be understandably nervous. However, staying informed about what to expect on the day can help ease any nervousness you may have and help to prepare you.

Before the procedure

  1. Arrive on time:  We ask our patients to arrive between 60- and 90-minutes before their scheduled egg retrieval in order to complete any paper work, and so that our staff can help you prepare for the procedure.
  2. Preparing to receive anaesthesia: Under general anaesthesia you will experience complete relaxation while the egg retrieval procedure takes place. As a precautionary measure, we ask that you not eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before the procedure. If you taking any other medication that makes this difficult for you, make sure you discuss this with our team beforehand.
  3. Bring your photo ID: We take great precautions to ensure accuracy with labeling, verification, double-checking and handling our patient samples. As such it is important that you and your partner provide a photo ID when you arrive for the procedure to assist with the process.
  4. Have someone drive you home afterwards: Although a straightforward process, egg retrieval is done under general anesthesia. We do not recommend that you drive home by yourself once discharged. It is strongly advised that a responsible adult should be with you to drive you home safely.
  5. Your partner’s semen sample: If needed, your partner may be asked to provide a semen sample to our embryology team on the same day of your egg retrieval.

The egg retrieval process

Once you have changed into the surgical gown, the nurse will get you started on your IV line. Then the anesthesiologist will do a review of your medication records and history, after which the sedation process will begin. Once the anesthesiologist confirms you are sufficiently sedated, the doctor will begin the egg retrieval procedure.

The doctor will use an ultrasound in order to guide a special needle into the vagina, through the cervix and into the ovary. The doctor will remove the mature eggs from the follicles, one by one.  Generally this entire process takes about 20 minutes. The retrieved eggs are transferred to the embryology lab to be fertilised with the husband’s sperm.

You may experience mild cramping or a bit of abdominal/pelvic discomfort afterwards, and this is normal.

After the procedure

You will be transferred to the recovery room and kept under observation. Usually in 1-2 hours the effects of the anesthesia wears off. At this point, you can get dressed and go home.

While most people recover completely from the effects, some people are sensitive to the effects of anesthesia and may feel a little nausea and dizziness for some time. This lasts until the anesthesia has left your system which is why we advise that you do not drive home by yourself.

Mild pelvic discomfort is also normal and your doctor can prescribe pain med prescription. If you experience severe pain, cramping or significant bleeding in the days after your egg retrieval you should contact your doctor immediately. Complications are rare, and range between 1 in 1500 and 1 in 4000 egg collections. In almost all cases patients feel completely normal within 48 hours after the procedure.

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