Egg (Oocyte) Retrieval

Approximately 35 hours after the hCG injection, the egg (oocyte) retrieval will be performed under sedation. Intravenous medications will be given to prevent discomfort during the procedure. You will be asked not to have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before the egg retrieval. If you are taking medications for any other reason, talk to your MD or RN about taking medication prior to retrieval. Once you receive the intravenous medication, the vagina will be cleansed with sterile water. A needle will be placed through your vagina and into the ovary, under ultrasound guidance. Most women will not feel this procedure at all due to the effects of the intravenous medications. The follicular fluid (which contains the eggs) from the follicles in your ovaries is collected in test tubes and passed to the embryologists in the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Lab. The egg retrieval takes approximately 20-30 minutes.

After the procedure is completed, you will be transferred to the recovery room to rest for about an hour. Risks from the egg retrieval include pain, infection in the pelvis and ovaries, injury to the bowel, bladder, uterus, ovaries or major blood vessels. Since the procedure is done under ultrasound guidance and the needle can be seen on the ultrasound, the chance of serious problems is extremely small.

On the day of egg retrieval, you will need to have someone available to drive you home (you cannot drive on the day of egg retrieval due to the intravenous medications that you will be receiving). You should not plan to do any work on the day of egg retrieval. Many women do return to work the next day, while others also rest the day following the retrieval. You may feel some pelvic heaviness or soreness and cramping. It is okay to take Tylenol, but you should avoid ibuprofen (i.e. Advil, Motrin). Often there is a small amount of spotting. Your bleeding should be less than a normal period. We recommend that you avoid immersing yourself in water (avoid swimming, take showers rather than baths, avoid vaginal intercourse) from the day of the retrieval for several days to allow the vagina to heal.

What are the next steps after egg retrieval?

After the procedure, you will be given complete written instructions and phone numbers. It is important to know that your ovaries are still enlarged immediately after the egg retrieval and that they remain enlarged for the next several weeks. For this reason, avoid heavy lifting or vigorous exertion such as running or aerobics until they return to normal size (which occurs either at 6-10 weeks into the pregnancy or with menses if pregnancy does not occur). It is okay to take stairs slowly, and walk short distances, less than a mile. Avoid any vaginal creams, lubricants, or spermicides other than the progesterone that is prescribed. Avoid hot tubs and Jacuzzis. Avoid intercourse until advised by your physician. If you travel, give yourself twice as much time as usual and minimize stress.

Semen sample

Your partner will give a sperm sample the day of the egg retrieval. It is recommended that he abstain from ejaculation for 2 days (48 hours) to 5 days before giving the sample.