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Human egg cells with purple centre and blue outer

23/10/2023 - 2 min read

What happens at egg collection?

Care Team

Egg collection is a minor procedure that normally takes no more than 15 minutes to complete. It allows your fertility specialist to extract eggs to be used during IVF. During the procedure, your eggs will be collected with a small needle that’s passed through your vagina into your ovaries. 

What is the egg collection procedure?

The egg collection procedure, also known as egg retrieval, involves using an ultrasound probe to detect follicles. A needle is then guided through the vagina into these follicles, before eggs are removed using a suction device connected to the other end.

Is egg collection painful?

The egg collection process is usually completely painless, but some women do experience minor cramps and a small amount of vaginal bleeding. Both of these symptoms should pass as soon as the retrieval is over.

Monitoring egg development

You’ll be monitored throughout your IVF treatment using ultrasounds and hormone measurements. This allows your fertility specialist to adjust levels of IVF medication to improve follicle growth, giving us a clear picture as to when the egg collection will take place.

You may need to visit your fertility clinic regularly throughout this time. Your consultant will discuss timings with you.

Egg collection

This is a straightforward procedure that takes around 30 minutes and is performed with pain relief. To collect your eggs, we pass a scan probe into the vagina and use ultrasound to guide a needle into one of the ovaries. We then extract eggs from the ovarian follicles.

We recommend you have a short rest before going home.

Possible side effects and complications

The risks of something going wrong with egg collection are minor, however the more common side effects include things like bloating, unusual discharges and minor infections.

Other risks include:

  • Constipation, which may last for a number of days after the procedure
  • Bloating, due to your ovaries becoming enlarged after the embryo transfer takes place
  • Vaginal discharge. You may find you pass a small amount of watery fluid after the retrieval
  • Breast tenderness caused by rapidly changing hormone levels
  • Infection or bleeding
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, which can cause symptoms such as mild or moderate abdominal pain, adnominal bleeding, nausea or diarrhoea

Severe symptoms should be discussed with your fertility specialist as soon as possible.