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What Is the Egg Retrieval Process?

Posted on: 30 December, 2017

woman receiving egg retrieval consultation

The egg retrieval process is pretty simple, but the idea of having to undergo any type of medical procedure can make anyone feel anxious and a little scared. With a thorough understanding of the procedure, you may be less worried, especially as you know what to expect and how to prepare yourself before and after egg retrieval.

Before the Procedure

Once you’ve met the requirements to donate eggs, your doctor will place you on ovarian stimulation medication to stimulate the maturing of follicles. Your doctor will use an ultrasound to monitor follicle growth. When the follicles have reached a certain size, the egg retrieval process can begin. Before your procedure, you will receive an injection, usually hCG or leuprolide acetate, to finalize egg maturation. After the injection, egg retrieval must occur within 36 hours.

Since you will be put to sleep using anesthesia, your doctor will ask you to refrain from eating or drinking within 10 hours of your procedure.

Day of the Procedure

On the day of your procedure, you may be given an antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection. You will want to arrive at least 30 minutes early to check in, to change into your surgical gown, and to undergo a final check-up (ie., blood pressure, temperature). You will also need to sign a consent form.

Once all the administrative business is squared away, you’ll be prepped with an IV. Your anesthetist will review your medical history, give the final go-ahead, and then send you off into a nice, deep sleep!

The Egg Retrieval Procedure

The egg retrieval process only takes about 30 minutes. Once you’re in a deep sleep, your doctor will locate your ovaries using an ultrasound. After pinpointing the follicles, the doctor will place a needle into each ovary, removing fluid in the follicles which contains the egg or ova. Once all the fluid has been removed from the follicles, and the eggs have been retrieved, the procedure is completed.

Egg Retrieval Recovery

After the procedure, you’ll likely need at least 30 minutes to rest and to allow the anesthesia to begin to wear off. You can expect to be tired, but you can likely return to your normal activities the next day. To minimize your risk of infection, after the procedure be sure to avoid:

  • No baths or hot tubs/swimming for 4-7 days
  • Engaging in sexual intercourse
  • Using tampons

couple with newborn surrogate baby

There are usually minimal egg retrieval side effects. You may be a little sore, but for most young women the moderate discomfort is like a menstrual period with cramping for 1-3 days.  You will want to be aware of any signs of hyperstimulation which is a rare complication of egg donation and includes pain not controlled with Tylenol or Advil, swelling, problems with urination, extreme bloating.  This constitutes a medical issue and the clinic and physician should be contacted immediately for supportive care.  The vast majority of egg donation cycles proceed without problems and the donor is back to her normal activities in days.

Become an Egg Donor

Now that you understand the egg donation process, you may be ready to submit an egg donor application. If you’re considering donating your eggs, our highly trained staff at The Donor Solution is here to help. We will help you from the beginning of the process until the end, answering any questions you may have along the way.

Get started on the egg donation process today! Call us at (713) 827-0301.

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