Egg retrieval process

Once the ovarian follicles have achieved an adequate size and stage of development, a trigger injection is given to induce final maturation of the eggs. The timing of this injection is very important to the outcomes of your in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle and needs to be precise. An egg retrieval procedure is then scheduled for 36 hours following this injection.

An egg retrieval takes place in a special procedure room. This procedure takes approximately 30 minutes and during that time, all ovarian follicles are drained and fluid is sent to the lab to find eggs. Eggs are drawn out of follicles with gentle suction from the help of ultrasound images and a special needle. An IV catheter is placed and will be used for sedation and pain medication during the procedure. You may wake up with some discomfort, but this can be alleviated with medications in the recovery area.

Male partners will be scheduled to collect a fresh semen sample on the day of egg retrieval. If needed, the sample frozen for back up can be thawed and used to inseminate eggs.

An adult must be available to drive you home on the day of egg retrieval. Recovery generally takes one to two hours. You will receive information about the number, maturity, and quality of eggs obtained following retrieval. Women must take the egg retrieval day off from usual activities and can plan on returning to regular activities, including work, the day following retrieval.

Hormonal medications are prescribed beginning the day of egg retrieval and will continue until the results of a pregnancy test are known.

Risks associated with the egg retrieval process

Bleeding, infection, and damage to the bowel or bladder may occur, although the risk is minimal. There is also a chance that eggs may not be found and pregnancy may not ensue.

Another potential complication is ovarian hyperstimulation. This is an exaggerated response to stimulation of the ovaries with medications. Our care team individualizes patient care to try to prevent this complication. We may ask you to monitor for hyperstimulation and at that time, you would receive full instructions from our staff on what symptoms to watch for. 

Last reviewed: 
February 2018

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