Egg Retrieval

The Egg Retrieval Process is Done Under Light Sedation

Couples who use in vitro fertilization for solving their infertility will need to have eggs retrieved from the ovaries of the female partner and have sperm available from the male partner or from a donor.

Your fertility physician will give the female partner hormones to stimulate her ovaries to develop follicles.

Each follicle contains an egg. The physician monitors the progress of the growth and the number of follicles with ultrasound visualization. The woman also has blood drawn at one of the local CPL labs. Assays for estrogen are run on these blood samples that will let the physician know how close the largest follicles are to ovulating. When the follicle sizes are large and the estrogen levels are appropriately high, the physician decides the time and day of the hCG injection.

This injection triggers the large follicles to finish maturation and to ovulate within 38-40 hours. The time of the injection is very important because it dictates when the egg retrieval will occur. If the egg retrieval is too early, there will be eggs located in follicles that will not come out by the aspiration process. If the egg retrieval is too late, there will be eggs lost by ovulation.

Once the egg retrieval time and date is set, the patient will be given instructions by her IVF nurse.

The couple will arrive at St. David’s Fertility Surgery Center an hour before the retrieval. They will be greeted by one of the St. David’s nurses who will escort the couple to a private room where they will stay both before and after the retrieval. An anesthesiologist will administer medication to keep the woman comfortable during the retrieval and will be present to monitor her throughout the short time that she is anesthetized. A woman’s physician is present for her retrieval- not a physician who happens to be on call. This is in keeping with the individualized treatment that Texas Fertility Center strives to bring their patients.

If the male partner is to collect a semen sample at Ovation Fertility Austin for the IVF case, an embryologist will come to the patient’s room shortly after the woman has gone back to the OR for her retrieval. The embryologist will escort the husband to the collection room and give him instructions for where to place the cup after collecting the sample.

After the egg retrieval, the woman is returned to her room. The St. David’s nurses will monitor her condition and comfort level for the 60 to 90 minutes that she is there after the retrieval.

One of the embryologists will come to the couple’s room after the eggs have been put into the incubator and the sperm has been processed. The embryologist will inform the couple of the final number of eggs retrieved and how the semen sample looks on that day. They will also be able to tell the couple if the case will be an insemination case or if intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection will be needed in order to accomplish fertilization.


Oocytes (eggs) after retrieval. Stripping the cumulus cells for the fertilization process


Oocytes (eggs) magnified 100 times