If you are well into your IVF journey, the day of your egg retrieval appointment might be nearing, and with that, I’m sure you will have some questions and concerns about how it all works.
Egg retrieval is an important step in the process of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves retrieving mature eggs from the ovaries. Those eggs can then be fertilised with sperm in a lab to create embryos for implantation. This moment is both hugely terrifying and exciting for anyone undergoing IVF.
In the UK, egg retrieval is typically carried out in a fertility clinic or hospital and is performed under sedation or general anaesthesia. In this article, we will discuss what happens at an egg retrieval appointment in the UK so you can feel as prepared and relaxed as possible going in for the procedure.
Before the appointment
It’s probably felt like a long road to get to the point where your eggs are being retrieved for IVF. Beforehand patients will typically undergo a series of tests and scans to determine the best time to perform the procedure.
This may include blood tests to measure hormone levels and ultrasounds to monitor the development of follicles in the ovaries. You might be asked to abstain from sexual intercourse before the procedure, and you’ll be asked not to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your egg collection.
On the day of the appointment
On the day of the egg retrieval appointment, patients will be asked to arrive at the clinic or hospital a few hours before the procedure is scheduled. They will be taken to a private room where they can change into a hospital gown and prepare. Patients will be given an IV line through which they will receive fluids and medications throughout the procedure.
Sedation or general anaesthesia
Egg retrieval is usually carried out under sedation or general anaesthesia to ensure you are completely relaxed and comfortable throughout the process. The type of sedation will be agreed upon in advance and dependent on the patient’s preference and the doctor’s recommendation.
Sedation involves the use of a medication that relaxes the patient and helps to manage any discomfort during the procedure. General anaesthesia, on the other hand, consists of using medications that put the patient to sleep for the duration of the egg collection.
The egg Retrieval
Once your anesthesiologist has confirmed you are the right amount of sedated, the egg collection can begin. During the egg retrieval, a doctor will use an ultrasound to guide a special needle through the cervix and into your ovary. We promise the sedation will keep any discomfort at bay! Your doctor will then begin to remove mature eggs from the follicles one at a time. The entire process usually takes around 15-20 minutes to complete. Your eggs will then be taken to the embryology lab, where they can be fertilised using your partner or donor sperm.
Recovery from egg retrieval
After the egg retrieval, you will be taken to a recovery room and monitored for a while before being discharged. The length of time spent in recovery will depend on the type of anaesthesia used and any individual needs of the patient. It’s completely normal to experience cramping or discomfort after the egg collection. However, this is usually mild and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.
That’s it! After your egg retrieval, you will be given detailed instructions on how to care for yourself at home. You’ll be asked not to participate in strenuous activities for a few days. You may also be prescribed some medications to support embryo development. Finally, you’ll usually be invited back for a follow-up appointment to check on the progress of your embryos and discuss the next steps in your IVF journey!
In conclusion, egg retrieval is an important step in the process of IVF treatment. It is a relatively simple and safe procedure when carried out by an experienced medical team. Patients in the UK can expect to receive high-quality care and support throughout their entire IVF journey.
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