Egg retrieval is a simple, painless process an egg donor has to go through in order to retrieve eggs for IVF procedure. When the intended parents are unable to have a successful IVF cycle due to low or poor eggs, an external egg donor is chosen. Eggs are retrieved from this donor and used to fertilize for the IVF process.
Egg donors are sedated before surgery, and the whole surgery should be completed within 30 minutes. However, painless and quick surgery does not mean that the surgery is easy to conduct and that the egg donor may not have complications. The surgery has to be conducted by experienced doctors to ensure that the egg donor does not have any difficulties.
Egg retrieval methods
There are 2 different egg retrieval methods that are popular across the globe. They are:
- Transvaginal Ultrasound Aspiration
- Laparoscopic retrieval
Both of these are different egg retrieval methods that are to be used in different situations. The condition of the patient is what will determine the egg retrieval methods. Both of these methods are critical and needs to be conducted only by experienced doctors.
Transvaginal Ultrasound Aspiration
This is the most commonly used egg retrieval method throughout the world. An ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina of the patient in this method. This is done to identify the follicles.
Once the doctors have identified the follicles, thin needles are inserted into the follicles. Eggs are retrieved into a test tube through these needles. The fluid in the follicles retrieved through the needle and eggs are separated from the follicle wall.
There may be cases where ovaries are not accessible for egg retrieval through the Transvaginal Ultrasound Aspiration method. In such cases, Laparoscopic retrieval, medically called as laparoscopic ovum pick up is used as an alternative method.
In the Laparoscopy method, a process similar to Transvaginal Ultrasound Aspiration is followed; in addition to this, a very thin tube with a high-resolution camera known as Laparoscope is inserted through a small incision in the lower part of the navel. The Laparoscope is used to guide the needle to successfully retrieve eggs from the patient.
Though there are not many cases of severe side effects patients have after the surgery, there are chances of damaged blood vessels or damage to the internal organs that may occur if the surgery is not conducted delicately.
There is also a slim chance of infection after the surgery; this can be cured with antibiotics the doctor prescribes.
Patients have also complained about vaginal bleeding and lower abdominal discomfort for almost a week. These discomforts should not go beyond a week and doctors will proscribe medications for all discomforts.
Things to note after the egg retrieval methods
- It is vital to use mechanical contraceptive such as a condom or a diaphragm during intercourse until a week after egg aspiration. The surgery’s goal is to retrieve all eggs from the follicle; however, doctors are unable to retrieve all eggs successfully. This will mean that the egg donor would get pregnant in the events of unprotected intercourse during this period.
- It is advised that the patient does not drive back home due to the heavy sedatives and effects of anaesthesia.
- Also, the surgery doctor would advise that the egg donors rest for the remainder of the day to ensure complete recovery.
- Ovaries of the egg donors are enlarged post the egg retrieval. It is common for the patient’s ovaries to stay enlarged for several weeks. The patient should do fine if they avoid heavy lifting and vigorous exercise.