Strong Fertility Center

Egg Retrieval

The egg retrieval procedure sounds much more complicated and painful than it really is. If you decide to become an egg donor, you will have the opportunity to see a slide presentation of what is involved and to talk with one of the nurses and a physician about the procedure.

Egg retrieval is done by the transvaginal ultrasound-guided method, a non-surgical outpatient procedure. Only donors whose ovaries are accessible through the vagina will be considered for the donor program.

Egg retrievals are performed in our office. The day of retrieval, an IV will be put in and antibiotics will be given. You will also be given a sedative to help you relax, but you will be awake during the procedure. A local anesthetic, lidocaine, will be given to numb the area of the vagina and cervix. The bladder will also be emptied with a catheter.

A vaginal probe, which is a device with an ultrasound transducer on the tip, is introduced into the vagina. This allows us to see the ovaries and other pelvic structures. There is a needle guide attached to the vaginal probe, which the aspirating needle through the vaginal walls into the follicles. The follicular fluid is aspirated into a syringe. Many follicles can be aspirated in the ovary with only one puncture of each ovary.

The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes. You will stay in our recovery room to ensure that you have no unusual side effects from the medication. In most cases, you will be able to get dressed and go home about 2 hours after the procedure.

Following the procedure, the only thing you may experience is a little vaginal bleeding and some lower abdominal discomfort the next week or so, but it is rare for it to persist beyond that time.

It is very important to use a mechanical contraceptive such a foam, condoms, or a diaphragm, or to avoid intercourse from day #1 of your stimulated cycle (the time you are taking the birth control pills), until one week after egg aspiration. We try to retrieve all the eggs, but usually there are a few that we are unable to retrieve. This means that you could become pregnant if you have unprotected intercourse.*

Two to three weeks after the egg retrieval, you will have an appointment for a follow-up check. We will continue to be available to you for questions, concerns, or medical problems associated with egg retrieval. Your participation is appreciated.

Recipient - IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) of Donor Eggs with Recipient's Husband's Sperm (Laboratory Preparation)

The follicular fluid obtained from your ovaries is given to the IVF lab personnel who identify the eggs under the microscope. The eggs are then transferred to a special culture medium and are combined with the recipient's husband's sperm a few hours later. Fertilization can be determined 12 to 18 hours later. The fertilized eggs (embryos) will be incubated another day to develop further.

Just as in normal reproduction, sometimes fertilization does not occur, or development begins but stops. This is the reason we try to stimulate the production of more than one egg. Having more than one embryo increases the chance of pregnancy.

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