Egg retrieval is an integral part of the IVF cycle. Throughout the first half of the cycle, you will take fertility drugs to stimulate the development of several eggs. There are a few different injectable medications on the market that are used for this purpose. Your doctor will determine the most effective drug for you.
As the eggs are developing, you will be monitored by transvaginal ultrasound and blood work to track your hormone levels. When the eggs are ripened, the egg retrieval procedure will be scheduled. The retrieval generally takes place in the infertility clinic.
The procedure is known as egg aspiration. You will be given IV and local anesthesia, so you won’t be awake for the procedure. Once you are out, the doctor will insert a needle through the vagina and to the ovaries. Ultrasound is used to guide the doctor in retrieving the eggs.
After the retrieval, the anesthesia is allowed to wear off. You will awaken without any memory of the procedure. In most cases, you will be monitored in the office for at least an hour and then will be allowed to return home. In a few days, you will return to the clinic for the embryo transfer.
Your eggs will be taken to an embryologist for examination. The embryologist will examine the eggs and determine which are healthy and ripe enough to be used in the IVF procedure.
A few hours after the retrieval procedure, your eggs will be mixed with sperm from your partner and put into an incubator. Over the next few days, the embryologist will monitor and evaluate the eggs to determine which are fertilized and developing properly. These will be used in the IVF procedure and some may be frozen for use in future cycles.