The egg retrieval is the culmination of the ovarian stimulation process and is the final step of the IVF or Egg Freezing cycle. In each scenario, the egg retrieval marks the end of the ovarian stimulation process. Whether you go on to create embryos immediately, or you choose to freeze your eggs for future use, you can feel confident that you’ve placed your trust in one of the most experienced teams in the United States. At NYU Langone Fertility Center, our outcomes speak to our expertise at each step of the fertility journey.

Before the Big Day: Ovarian Stimulation

During the ovarian stimulation process, your doctor will assess whether you are ready for a trigger shot, which causes 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.

The Egg Retrieval Procedure

  • When you wake up on the morning of your scheduled egg retrieval, please remember that you cannot eat or drink within 6 hours of your egg retrieval. If directed, please take your medications with a sip of water.
  • Small lockers are available onsite, but please do not bring any valuables. Come as you are! Please do not wear jewelry or make-up to your egg retrieval procedure.
  • When you arrive at 660 First Avenue, you will check in on the 5th floor in our main reception area. You will then be directed to the 6th floor where our procedure room is located. Our nursing team will perform an intake evaluation and prepare you for the egg retrieval. You will be introduced to the anesthesiologist and the doctor performing the procedure. You will then receive intravenous sedation. The egg retrieval procedure typically takes approximately 10 minutes. You will be under anesthesia for the duration of the procedure.
  • Using ultrasound to view each ovary, the physician performing your retrieval will pass a needle through the vaginal wall to the ovary. The follicular fluid is passed off to the embryologists who will examine your eggs under a microscope.
  • Recovery generally takes approximately 1 hour, however each patient is different, and recovery can take more than an hour 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. There are services you can use if needed. Unfortunately, if you do not have an escort, we will not be able to perform your retrieval.

Recovery After Egg Retrieval

Each patient responds to the egg retrieval procedure and anesthesia differently. Typically, recovery is straightforward with some mild to moderate cramping for a few hours directly following the procedure. Some patients choose to take oral pain medication following their discharge from the clinic. 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 for you to feel like yourself again.

Egg Retrieval: Frequently Asked Questions

How many eggs are retrieved during egg retrieval?

The number of eggs retrieved during egg retrieval depends on a number of factors, including age and ovarian reserve. While your doctor will have an idea of how many eggs you can expect based upon follicular growth during ovarian stimulation, we won’t know the exact number of eggs until after retrieval.

What happens to the eggs after they have been retrieved from the ovaries?

Following retrieval, your eggs are assessed for maturity by our embryology team at NYU Langone Fertility Center. If you are freezing your eggs, they will be frozen using vitrification and stored until you are ready to use them. If you are creating embryos, your eggs will be combined with your designated sperm source to create embryos.

Does egg retrieval affect your period?

No! You should expect your period 10-12 days after your retrieval and subsequently, the return of your normal menstrual cycle.

What does egg retrieval feel like?

During the retrieval procedure itself you will be sedated and unable to feel anything. Following the procedure, you may experience mild cramping that can typically be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. You may also feel slightly groggy, lightheaded, or nauseated for a few hours until the effects of the anesthesia have fully worn off.

What should I avoid before and after my egg retrieval?

In preparation for anesthesia, do not eat or drink anything for 6 hours prior to your egg retrieval.

Following your retrieval, avoid strenuous activity or operating heavy machinery until you feel 100%. Rest and hydration are your friends!