The egg retrieval procedure can be daunting, whether you are going through an IVF cycle or donating your eggs. The level of anxiety can be high, especially if this is your first time. Many patients may wonder what exactly is involved in the egg retrieval process.
Even though egg retrieval is a minor surgery, it’s a serious business. Like any other procedure, egg retrieval usually goes smoothly when there’s careful planning.
Reproductive Sciences Medical Center has successfully completed thousands of egg retrievals for both IVF and egg donation. We have put together some tips to help alleviate any anxiety and make the process as seamless as possible. Preparing beforehand will help set the stage for your best retrieval experience.
Here are several tips to help you have the best egg retrieval experience:
Know where you’re going
The general rule with egg retrieval is same as with all others. If you know where you’re headed there’s a much lower chance of getting lost! We truly do mean it when we say “Know where you’re going”
There are many agencies who have clinics in different cities and a lab in another. So, make sure you are aware of where you’re going. If you have anxiety about getting lost, it will be better to visit the lab location ahead of time just to be sure. Even though we have never seen it, there are cases where the patient has shown up at the wrong IVF center for her egg retrieval procedure. Some women are so excited that they don’t realize how critical such a mistake can be.
Know your Anatomy
Ovaries are the most important part in an egg retrieval procedure, and even though it sounds obvious, knowing where your ovaries are located is also really important. This way you’ll have an idea of how you may feel while going through the process.
Imagine not realizing that you may gain up to five pounds in water weight. You may also go from feeling perfectly normal to almost four months pregnant over a 10-day span. Or that you could have breast tenderness as your estrogen is rising, and you may feel more hormonal and nauseous.
There are a lot of changes that happen in your body whether you’re going through IVF or the egg donation process. If you don’t know your body and are not prepared for these changes, you may think something is seriously wrong and take an unnecessary trip to the emergency room.
Knowing what to expect in your individual situation can only happen if you know your anatomy. Our suggestion is that you ask your doctor about how many eggs they are expecting. If you are worried about Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), then ask what they are doing to prevent it.
Before your egg retrieval, you may feel less inclined to eat and if that’s the case than try a protein shake as a meal substitute or a hydrating drink that you’ll be able to keep down. Many experts say, the most effective and simplest well-hydrating fluid option is Coconut Water.
Food as Medicine
Food is always important and even more so during an IVF cycle. We encourage you to ask your doctor or physician to craft a diet depending on your body. And of course, you can use your egg donation cycle as an opportunity to get in the best shape.
You don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary. We do recommend that our patients practice meditation and deep breathing. There are countless books and mobile applications which act as resources to guide you in doing so. Try and find an app that you make a connection with. Test them out and then pick the one that makes you feel the calmest.
Here are some of our recommendations:
- www.talktherapy.com (for one on one therapy sessions)
- www.resolve.org (for support group)
Make sure you don’t have a Sperm Emergency
No one wants a sperm emergency and here’s what we recommend to all our patients undergoing IVF:
- We usually don’t recommend intercourse prior to the egg retrieval process. This especially true for our egg donation patients. The hormones they’re taking to stimulate their eggs increases the likelihood of becoming pregnant.
- If you are going through IVF, you should find out what the collection room is like and what time the collection is. If there are any issues with performance, then an easy fix would be to do a sperm freeze ahead of time and there’s still an option to collect fresh the day of.
- Your partner should have a good and healthy breakfast the morning of. We also recommend getting a good night’s sleep the day before. It is also recommended to get as much rest as possible prior collection.
Know what to expect on that morning
Even though the retrieval process itself is relatively short, most patients will be at the clinic for approximately two hours. You should arrive at the clinic with an empty stomach approximately 45 minutes ahead of time. Make sure that you’re wearing comfortable clothes and do not put on any perfume. Once everything is all set you will then change into a gown and one of the nurses will place your IV.
After that an anesthesiologist will answer all your questions and your physician will meet with you and go over the following:
- The number of eggs they’re expecting to retrieve.
- What to expect in the days following the procedure?
- When you’ll get and update on your embryos and when you’ll need to come back to the clinic.
You will then be led to the OR and the physician will start will a pelvic ultrasound while you’re asleep. Through an elaborate system of test tubes and suction lines egg retrieval is performed and then the retrieved eggs are handed over to the embryologist. The procedure will take about 30 minutes to be complete. You’ll spend an additional 45 minutes to an hour in recovery. The person who brought you to the clinic can join you in the recovery room. Once you are released, they will drive you home and hopefully spend the rest of the day ensuring you are resting.
Must have – Post-Retrieval
- Pain Meds – After all, it’s a surgical procedure and there is going to be a needle poking your ovaries. All of our patients at Reproductive Sciences Medical Center get a prescription for pain medication to be used on an as needed basis and to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
- Stool softener – With the combination of swollen ovaries that are pushing your bowels and the effects from anesthesia, you are likely to experience some constipation. You might want to have a stool softener like docusate sulfate just in case
- Emergency Contact – Have the number of your doctor and fertility clinic close by. Be sure to call them if you’re having any post-op issues.
Ask for updates
If you are an egg donor, after the retrieval, the process is complete. However, with an IVF cycle, the wait starts to find out if you’re pregnant. Typically, it takes approximately two weeks to find out if the embryos took. This can be the hardest wait of all! Every clinic is different, but here are some of the times they may check-in with you:
- The night of the egg retrieval.
- The morning following the retrieval.
- Depending upon the situation, they may check-in on day 3, day 5 and day 6.
We have successfully completed IVF and egg donation cycles for thousand of patients. If you have any questions regarding the preparation and post-retrieval care, contact us at 858-436-7186 or you can visit us at www.fertile.com for more detailed information and to schedule a free consultation.