Oocyte (egg) retrieval

What is oocyte retrieval?

Oocyte retrieval is a procedure in which eggs are taken from your ovaries. It is one of the steps in the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process. The procedure is usually done through the vagina. You will be sedated for the procedure. Once eggs are retrieved from the ovaries, they can be fertilized in a lab. The embryos can later be placed in your womb.

Why is oocyte retrieval needed?

Oocyte retrieval is done to remove eggs from a woman’s ovaries.

What happens during the procedure?

You will be given a sedative, which will help you fall asleep. Your vagina will be cleaned. Once you are sedated, the doctor will use an ultrasound to locate your ovaries. A needle is then guided to one of your ovaries. The needle is connected to a suction device and test tube. The doctor will insert the needle into a follicle, which contains an egg, and pull the egg and surrounding fluid into the needle. The egg will move from the needle to the test tube. This process is repeated with other follicles and in your other ovary. The procedure takes about 30-60 minutes. You will then be taken to the recovery room and allowed to rest for a few hours. You will return to your doctor’s office 1 to 6 days later to have the embryos placed in your womb.

What are the risks?

A small risk of:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Side effects of general anesthesia

What should I do to prepare for the procedure?

  • Take medications given to you as instructed by your doctor
  • If you take any medications on a regular basis, ask your doctor if you can take these before your procedure

  • Wear loose comfortable clothing to your appointment
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure
  • You will be asked to empty your bladder before the procedure

What should I expect during recovery?

  • Because you will be sedated for this procedure, you will need to have someone drive you to and from your appointment.

  • After you wake up, you may feel cramping or pressure in your belly
  • If you feel nauseous try drinking clear liquids and eating crackers
  • You may have some light spotting and can wear a pantiliner
  • You should rest for at least 24 hours after the procedure
  • Gentle walking is fine, but avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise
  • Take any medications as prescribed by your doctor(s)
  • If you are experiencing pain, you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • Take 2 regular-strength tablets every 6 hours
    • A heating pad on your abdomen can also help alleviate pain
  • Do not have sex until 1 week after the embryo transfer procedure (where the embryos are placed in your womb) has taken place

Call your doctor if you experience:

  • Vaginal bleeding that is heavier than a period
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Pain that is not relieved by Tylenol
  • Fever greater than 100oF
  • Nausea that lasts for more than 24 hours
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, rash, swelling, or difficulty breathing

Office number: (404) 778-3401, Monday – Friday 8:30AM – 5PM

For emergencies after hours calling this number will connect you to the paging operator who will page the Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility, REI doctor on call.

If your pain becomes severe, your fever rises above 100.4oF, or you have difficulty breathing call the REI on call physician.

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