What happens at egg collection?

Fear of the unknown understandably provokes anxiety,  we all  feel the same emotion.


And one of the questions I am asked most frequently is "What will happen to me at the egg collection?"  So I thought it would be helpful to explain what will actually happen


When you have enough follicles of sufficient size your egg collection will be planned.  Our nurses will call to let you know the exact time to give yourself the all important final trigger injection. This final injection loosens the eggs within the follicles to allow successful retrieval.  The final  trigger is usually timed 36 hours before the egg collection procedure. Don’t worry about this because  you will be given the exact times required and you will already have been  trained in the injection and trigger  technique. You will also be advised of when you can eat or drink for the last time prior to the sedation anaesthetic. It is very important to adhere to these given times . At this stage you will also be advised at what time to attend the clinic for your egg collection.


It is essential that you attend at the time required as there are a few things to do before the procedure.


On arrival you will check in at the reception desk and then wait in our comfortable waiting area. About 30-60 minutes before your egg collection you will be asked to go to the procedure suite where a nurse will be waiting to greet you. The nurse will show you to  your own private room for the duration of your stay with us. The room will contain everything you need for a short day case stay including wide screen television facilities.


Soon after admission your nurse will admit you. She will take relevant details including weight and blood pressure measurements. The nurse will also ask you to change into a theatre gown. Following your admission you will be visited by the Consultant Anaesthetist.


In Manchester the egg collection procedure is performed under sedation administered by a Consultant Anaesthetist who all attend from local NHS hospitals on a daily rotational basis.


One of our highly experienced IVF Consultants will also chat with you to explain the procedure. Please feel free to ask the nurse or the doctors any questions during the admission process - they will be happy to help.


The nurse will then walk you into the procedure room where you will be asked to lie on the procedure bed. You will again meet the IVF Consultant and the anaesthetist and also the embryologist who will confirm your name and date of birth. The anaesthetist will insert a cannula  - usually in the back of your hand. The sedation will then begin. You will begin to feel very drowsy and you will have surgical drapes placed on your legs and abdomen to maintain sterility and your modesty at all times. The egg collection will then begin. This is usually a very easy and straightforward procedure. The IVF Consultant will insert the vaginal ultrasound probe in much the same way as when you had your monitoring scans. This time there is a needle attached which will be gently passed through the vaginal wall and into all of the follicles on both ovaries which are situated very close by. The fluid contained within the follicles will be aspirated along with any egg contained within. The fluid will be drained into a test tube which will then be immediately taken to the embryologist who will examine the fluid under a powerful microscope and retrieve the eggs. Soon after the procedure is complete the final egg numbers will be known. It is important to realize that not every follicle will contain an egg and not every egg obtained will be able to be used . Therefore it is not quantity but perhaps quality which is more important . The procedure takes about 20-30 minutes. When the operation is complete you will be transferred to our recovery room for about 10 minutes. Once you have recovered you will be transferred back to your private room. Our nurses will then keep a very close eye on you and monitor your blood pressure and pulse rate frequently.  It is normal to experience a little period type pain after the procedure and pain relief will also be given if necessary. Sperm production if required takes place while you are in the procedure room.


Once fully recovered you will be given a hot drink and biscuits. You will be visited again by the IVF Consultant who will confirm the number of eggs collected and answer any questions. The Embryologist will also visit and explain what will happen in the laboratory over the following days.  Once you have fully recovered you will be discharged. Most patients will be with us for a couple of hours only.


The Embryology team will monitor and look after your eggs, sperm and embryos over the following days until the point of embryo transfer, they’ll be in touch daily to update you on progress.


I do hope that this blog will take away some of the mystery, allay any anxieties and reassure you about what will happen on the day of your egg collection. You will be guided at every step of the way. This process applies to the majority of standard IVF treatments and clinics in the CARE fertility Group, however some of the details may differ slightly depending on the individual clinic and your treatment circumstances. Please rest assured we will be on hand to guide and advise you at every stage of your treatment journey.


You can find out more on the whole IVF treatment cycle here.


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