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IVF Egg Retrieval (Oocyte Retrieval)

IVF egg retrieval is the process of removing eggs from the ovaries. Prior to the egg retrieval, the IVF patient will have taken fertility drugs to stimulate the development of multiple eggs.

Since the IVF egg retrieval is typically performed under anesthesia, the patient must avoid having anything to eat or drink starting the night before the procedure. The morning of the IVF egg retrieval the woman must continue to fast. The woman will be given a time to arrive at the Naperville Fertility Center. Her partner must be there also (if we are using his fresh sperm). She will be given an intravenous (IV) saline drip. It is through this IV that she will receive the medications to allow her to “sleep” through the egg retrieval.

The IVF egg retrieval is performed by passing a hollow needle through the wall of the vagina into the ovary. The needle is guided into the ovary with the use of a vaginal ultrasound probe. The needle can be guided into the follicle where the egg resides. The egg itself is not visible with the ultrasound. The fluid is aspirated from the follicle and deposited into a test tube. The fluid aspirate from the test tube is then inspected under the microscope to find the egg.

During an average IVF stimulation, a woman will produce some follicles that have grown to a large size and others of medium or small size. Attempt will be made to aspirate all of the follicles – large and small. Although every follicle contains an one egg, it is not always possible to remove the egg. Older patients, those with poor ovarian reserve and those with smaller follicles, may see a lower percentage of eggs recovered.

While the woman is having the IVF eggs retrieval, her male partner will be taken to a private collection room to produce a semen specimen. A good IVF egg retrieval may obtain between 10 and 20 eggs. An IVF egg retrieval typically takes 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, the woman is taken to the recovery area while she “wakes up” from the medication. Usually, she can leave within an hour after completing the retrieval. The couple will be told how many eggs were retrieved before leaving the Naperville Fertility Center.

The day of the egg retrieval, the woman should plan on taking it easy. She will often be drowsy due to the residual effects of the anesthesia medication. Some nausea is possible but otherwise, she can eat whenever (and whatever) she wants. By the next day, she should be able to resume normal activities.

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