What to expect on the day of your egg collection
It’s very normal for my female patients going through IVF treatment to feel anxious about their egg collection. To help you prepare, this blog article provides information on what you can expect on the day of your procedure.
An egg collection, also known as an oocyte collection is a surgical procedure that occurs during an IVF cycle. It involves a female’s eggs being collected from the ovaries by a Fertility Specialist and then fertilised in a laboratory by embryologists using partner or donor sperm.
On the day of your egg collection, you’ll generally be in the Day Surgery for about 3-4 hours. This includes around 30 minutes for admission, around 30 minutes for the actual procedure, and then 60-90 minutes in recovery.
During your admission there will be paperwork to go over and sign and you’ll be asked to change into a hospital gown. You will then meet the day surgery nurses who will confirm your identity, place a hospital ID band on your arm, check your consent forms, and ask you questions about your medical history and your recent general health.
Your day surgery nurse will also take a set of ‘observations’ which include your blood pressure and heart rate. These will be measured throughout your procedure and afterwards, so this first reading establishes what is normal for you.
Your egg collection will be carried out under a light general anaesthetic and the anaesthetist looking after you will have a chat with you and ask a few further questions. The embryologist involved in your procedure will also pop in to introduce themselves and talk you through their role. The Fertility Specialist carrying out the procedure may also speak to briefly before the procedure begins. At Monash IVF we schedule your egg collection when it’s the best time for you, which means I may not be doing your procedure. But please don’t worry, all my colleagues are highly trained so you’ll be in very safe hands.
When it’s time for your egg collection you’ll be escorted through to the procedure room where you’ll be asked to hop up onto the bed. You’ll be then hooked up to equipment which will be monitoring your blood pressure and heart rate. There is a final identification and consent check performed, and your anaesthetist will insert a needle into your vein in your hand for administration of the anaesthetic during your procedure.
Once you’re asleep the Fertility Specialist will use an ultrasound guided needle to collect your eggs. This needle is passed through the wall of your vagina and into each follicle in the ovary, draining the fluid using a mild suction. The fluid collects in test tubes, which are passed to the Embryologist who then separates out the eggs from the fluid under a microscope.
Depending on the number of follicles the procedure will take around 30 minutes. Once the Fertility Specialist is satisfied all accessible follicles have been drained, you’ll be taken to the recovery bay where you’ll be closely supervised by a nurse. As the anaesthetic wears off, you may feel some cramping pain, similar to bad period pain. Additional pain relief can be provided and we’ll make sure you have a heat pack which can be held to the abdomen to ease this discomfort. On occasion, some patients may feel a little nauseated.
It’s also normal to experience some spotting or light bleeding (from the puncture site through the vagina wall). There will be sanitary pads available in the day surgery and just be mindful that you won’t be able to use tampons for a week or so to give the wound inside your vagina time to heal.
Once you have recovered, the nurse will talk you through what to expect that day and over the following days, and provide you with written instructions as well as medications or prescriptions to take home if necessary. You can change into your clothes and with your partner or family member or friend to accompany you, you can head home to rest for the remainder of the day.