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How is Egg Retrieval? PDF Print E-mail


If a woman doesn't take GnRH agonists, then as she nears the middle of her cycle she usually begins to monitor herself with a home test kit several times a day to check for her LH surge. The IVF team retrieves her eggs based on the prediction of when she will ovulate naturally after the LH surge, or after administering hCG, which is usually more accurate. In most cases, after taking gonadotropins, the woman receives an hCG injection and the IVF team retrieves her eggs thirty-four to thirty-six hours later.

The team normally retrieves the woman's eggs with an ultrasoundguided needle placed through the vagina. She may receive either general anesthesia or only intravenous sedation and possibly takes mild analgesics.



For ultrasound-guided retrieval, the IVF team covers an ultrasound probe, specifically designed for pelvic imaging, with a sterile covering glove and inserts the probe into the woman's vagina. With the aid of a needle guide attached to the probe, the doctor harvests her eggs by puncturing the follicles and removing the follicular fluid. The embryologist immediately identifies and places the eggs in nutritive media in an incubator.

Ultrasound-guided egg retrieval has made the most physically demanding part of the IVF procedure in the past (the laparoscopy) less traumatic. In some centers, husbands can be with their wives during the egg retrieval. The procedure is easier on the woman than laparoscopy, and is equally effective in retrieving eggs. It is also usually less costly, faster, and leads to a quicker recovery than laparoscopic retrieval.

Laparoscopic retrieval is reserved for women who need a simultaneous assessment of pelvic anatomy through a diagnostic laparoscopy. IVF clinics should have both retrieval methods available to pick the best method for a particular woman.

Semen Collection
Before the start of the IVF cycle, the husband makes an appointment to give a semen sample for evaluation. The clinic should provide a quiet, private place for optimum semen collection, since studies show that this may contribute to the success or failure of the cycle. In some cases, the husband's sperm can be frozen as a backup for the day of egg retrieval. As with a semen analysis, he is asked to refrain from ejaculation for two or three days beforehand to increase the number of sperm in the semen. On the day of egg retrieval, he provides a semen sample through masturbation, and the sample undergoes a standard semen analysis along with the best sperm processing method for this particular situation to recover the healthiest sperm.

Is spotting after the retrieval normal?
Spotting after retrieval is usually caused by the puncture wounds in the vagina that were created when the needle was inserted to drain your follicles. Red vaginal spotting may last for 24-48 hours after the retrieval. If the spotting is more like bleeding (soaking a pad), call your clinic immediately.


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