Powerful anesthesia medications are given through an IV so that the woman is "out" during the egg retrieval procedure. She will not feel pain - or remember anything.
Some clinics use other types of anesthesia, but in the US the women are generally "put to sleep" - but are still breathing on their own.
Conscious sedation, general anesthesia and even local anesthesia can be used for this procedure.
Egg retrieval procedure
A needle is passed through the top of the vagina under ultrasound guidance to get to the ovary and follicles.
The fluid in the follicles is aspirated through the needle and the eggs detach from the follicle wall and are sucked out of the ovary (see video above).
The oocyte-cumulus complex is pulled from the follicle wall when we aspirate the fluid through the needle.
The procedure usually takes about 10 minutes at our clinic
The fluid with the eggs is passed to the IVF lab where the eggs are identified, rinsed in culture media, and placed in small drops in plastic culture dishes. The dishes with the eggs are then kept in specialized IVF incubators under carefully controlled environmental conditions.
Egg retrieval ultrasound picture
Egg aspiration procedure - an egg is being retrieved from a follicle
The needle is the bright white structure on the right
Ovary outlined in blue, top of vagina in red
After egg retrieval - egg retrieval recovery
When all of the follicles have been aspirated, the woman wakes up quickly and is monitored closely for about an hour - after which she is discharged home.
Recovery is usually straightforward with mild to moderate cramping for a few hours or so afterwards.
Some women will use oral pain medications (such as Vicodin) after discharge from the clinic on the day of the egg retrieval.
IVF egg retrieval numbers - how many eggs do we get with egg retrieval?
We get about 8-12 eggs on the average at egg retrieval
Age has an effect on the numbers - younger women give more than older women