- In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an effective assisted reproductive technology (ART) that helps women and couples who are having a difficult time conceiving on their own.
- The treatment begins with ovarian stimulation through medication, egg retrieval once the follicles are mature, fertilization in our laboratory, and embryo transfer into the uterus.
- Many patients have a basic understanding of the process but are unsure of what to expect during the egg retrieval procedure. The fertility specialists at our centers can answer your questions and help you understand each stage of treatment.
- If you are considering IVF and would like to learn more about whether it is right for you, please contact our office to make an appointment with one of our doctors.
In the first step of IVF treatment, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is administered as a daily injection to encourage the ovaries to produce multiple follicles containing eggs. Your doctor will monitor the growth of the follicles by ultrasound and hormone levels. Once the appropriate size has been reached, you will be given an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) that will signal the final maturation and release of the eggs. The eggs are now ready to be retrieved.
The day of egg retrieval
Egg retrieval is a surgical procedure that is performed under narcoleptic analgesia, which combines pain relievers and intravenous (IV) sedation to ensure your comfort. During ultrasound-directed vaginal aspiration, your doctor will guide a needle into the ovaries and locate the mature follicles. In rare circumstances, if the ovaries cannot be accessed through the vaginal opening, your doctor may recommend a laparoscopic procedure. Once the ovaries have been accessed, the needle will puncture each follicle and aspirate the egg and fluid inside. The embryologists will evaluate the fluid and locate the most viable eggs for fertilization. This egg retrieval procedure is extremely quick and is typically performed in under 30 minutes at our facility. The eggs may then be frozen or mixed with a semen sample to complete the next step of IVF.
After egg retrieval
You should not feel any pain and only experience minor discomfort similar to menstrual cramps following your procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers are typically sufficient to relieve any symptoms, but your doctor may prescribe additional medication to ensure that you are comfortable in the days following your surgery. You will be given a series of prescription medication to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. You will also be given hormone supplements to help support the endometrial lining following treatment.