Egg Collection Explained

After a rather emotional and physical period of injections and stimulation, and 34–40 hours after your Trigger Shot, the time will come for egg collection

We turned to the team at IVF Spain to explain the process in more detail.

How long does egg collection take?

The egg retrieval is done in our in-house procedure room under sedation and depending on the number of follicles present it can take from a few minutes to about half an hour. (Follicles  are tiny sacs of fluid that contain immature eggs or oocytes.)

Does egg collection hurt?

In our clinics, the egg retrieval is performed under sedation and local anaesthesia and is therefore completely painless.

How do you get the eggs out?

The procedure is ultrasound-guided. The follicles are punctured by means of a very fine guide needle mounted on the transducer and the fluid in the follicles is aspirated. Afterwards this fluid is passed directly to our biologist who identifies the oocytes under the microscope.

Can I have my partner in the room?

As this is a sterile procedure, your partner is not allowed to be present in the operating room. However, your partner can wait for you in the recovery room. He is allowed in the room for the transfer though, which is usually a wonderful time to share together.

What medication do you give patients before you do the egg collection? 

The procedure is performed under sedation and local anaesthesia. No special medication is necessary.

How many eggs are you hoping to collect?

Although there is no precise guideline for a good number of follicles for IVF, the overall goal is to produce more than you would naturally (meaning without hormone injections.) This is because the aim is to create as many embryos as you can. The more eggs available, the higher the chance of the treatment being successful.

How many eggs the doctor is hoping to collect really depends on each woman and is based on a combination of (at least if no other medical issue) the level of oestradiol, combined with the ovarian reserve and her age.

A good guide is always to determine the oestrogens before the puncture. We know that a mature egg produces about 300-400 oestradiol. This gives us an idea of how many eggs we can expect.

What happens if I only have one or two? Do you take those?

Once again it depends on the patient: if the patient cannot expect more (if she is 44 years old or above and/or has a low ovarian reserve), then yes, we would proceed to egg collection. But if we had expected a much better cycle from the woman, we would talk to her and most likely wouldn’t proceed to egg collection. Instead, we would do another cycle in order to collect more and better quality eggs.

Will I be in pain after the collection? If yes, what can I do to ease the pain?

Normally our patients have no complaints afterwards. Sometimes a little pressure in the lower abdomen but nothing major.

Can I drive after egg collection?

As the procedure was done under sedation, we recommend that you do not drive yourself and recover first.

How long after egg collection can I go back to work?

It depends on your profession. Hard physical work should be avoided the day after the puncture. However, an office job can be resumed immediately. In any case, there are no restrictions from the following day.

Thank you so much to the experts at IVF Spain for answering our questions about egg collection

Learn more about the IVF process:

The different stages of an IVF cycle


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