Fertility Treatment

Is Egg Retrieval Considered Reproductive Surgery?

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Egg retrieval marks the end of the ovarian stimulation process and is one of the most misunderstood elements of an egg freezing or in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. While an egg retrieval does involve a surgical procedure and requires anesthesia, it shouldn’t be something patients fear! Prior to your cycle, you will attend an orientation class where the egg retrieval procedure will be explained in detail, and you will have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Remember, your care team is here to support you! If you’re feeling uneasy, take time to talk through your concerns with your care team until you feel comfortable. In the post below, we’ll walk through what you can expect before, during, and after your egg retrieval.

Before Egg Retrieval

Ahead of your egg retrieval, you will be prescribed medications to stimulate your ovaries. When your doctor determines you’re ready, you will receive your trigger shot, causing eggs to mature and release in preparation for retrieval. You will be given a specific time to administer the shot and your retrieval will occur approximately 35 hours later. Remember, because you will be under anesthesia during the procedure, you cannot eat or drink within six hours of your egg retrieval!

During Egg Retrieval

Egg Retrievals take place at our clinic at 660 First Avenue. Small lockers are available onsite, but patients are encouraged to leave any valuables at home and to arrive without jewelry or makeup. Our nursing team will perform an intake evaluation and prepare you for the egg retrieval, and you will be introduced to the anesthesiologist and the physician performing the procedure. You will then receive intravenous sedation. The egg retrieval procedure typically takes approximately 10 minutes, and you will be under anesthesia for the duration of the procedure.

Once you are sedated, the physician performing the procedure uses ultrasound to view each ovary and passes a needle through the vaginal wall to the ovary. The follicular fluid inside the ovaries is passed off to the embryologists who will examine all eggs retrieved under a microscope.

Patients are then taken to the recovery area for approximately one hour of observation, though recovery can take longer for some patients. During the recovery period, you will rest in our recovery area with blankets, water, and a light snack. While there, you will be evaluated for pain and given post-operative instructions.

Because you will receive anesthesia, you must be discharged to the care of a responsible adult who will bring you home safely. This is a safety measure mandated by NYU Langone Medical Center and The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities.

After Egg Retrieval

While patients do not feel anything during their egg retrieval, some mild to moderate cramping can be expected for a few hours directly following the procedure. Each patient responds differently to the egg retrieval procedure and anesthesia. Some choose to take oral pain medication such as Tylenol or Advil following their discharge from the clinic, and all should plan on spending the remainder of the day at home getting plenty of rest. While some patients recover quickly, it may take a few days to feel like yourself again.

Other Types of Reproductive Surgeries

For some patients, egg retrieval is not the only surgical procedure needed during the course of their fertility treatment. For women experiencing recurrent miscarriage, surgery is sometimes recommended to diagnose or treat conditions that can cause miscarriage. Occasionally, the removal of fibroids is necessary, although not all women with fibroids require surgery. Sometimes miscarriage is related to a uterus that did not develop normally, as in cases involving a uterine septum. While the procedures required are dependent upon each condition, common surgeries include hysteroscopy, laparoscopy and hysteroscopic metroplasty. All are performed under general anesthesia patients typically return home on the same day.