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What to expect from egg retrieval

By 3rd April 2016 ALL THINGS IVF

The IVF egg retrieval procedure usually tends to be the part of the IVF process which causes the most anxiety. So much has lead up to this moment and you’ll be feeling nervous and apprehensive about what’s to come.

I have shared details of both of my round of IVF treatment as the IVF egg retrieval procedure was different with both. Because I had two rounds of IVF treatment, I obviously experienced each stage of the IVF process twice. I had two very different experiences with egg retrieval.

What was the IVF egg retrieval procedure like on the first round of treatment?

The first time I had my egg retrieval I think my husband and I had a very lighthearted approach. We were so sick of IVF by this point and for us, the prize was not a successful round of IVF, it was to get the damn thing done and move on. Of course we were desperate for IVF to work but because we couldn’t control that, we just focused our energy on getting IVF finished.

We arrived at the hospital and filled out the necessary paperwork. My husband was then asked to go and produce a sperm sample and I waited in the cubicle for a member of the hospital staff to come and talk me through the process and put a cannula in my hand. Once I was prepped and ready to go into theatre, my husband and I waited to have our names called. I don’t remember much about the retrieval after that but my husband said that the embryologist and his team celebrated each egg as they came out, counting and cheering each one. I get goosebumps every time I think about this because this must have been amazing to be a part of. I just wish I could remember it. Unfortunately, on this occasion, this is where our IVF process came to a sudden end. Several eggs were retrieved but none of them fertilised. This is very rare and we were very unlucky.

What was the IVF egg retrieval procedure like on the second round of treatment?

My second egg retrieval was a different experience. Because we had failed fertilisation on our first round of IVF treatment, we had experienced extreme grief and sadness, so we knew exactly what was at stake. We were very measured and calm but it felt more serious this time. We couldn’t possibly face any more disappointment and the stakes were that much higher. The hospital staff were so amazing with us – they totally got why we would be feeling so vulnerable and emotional and I couldn’t fault their bedside manner. I actually believed that they wanted it to work – of course they all do but they made us feel like an IVF success for us would also be a personal victory for them. My husband and I will never forget the compassion that the team showed towards us.

After they had retrieved my eggs (I think they counted eight), I was taken out of theatre to come around from the sedation. I remember every second of this egg retrieval. I remember that they had music playing and I remember listening to them cheering each time a little egg was retrieved. I think I was given different drugs or a different dosage to the previous retrieval. It wasn’t painful and I felt completely looked after.

Both experiences of having an egg retrieval were nowhere near as bad as I thought they would be. Having any surgical procedure can be daunting but I found that the reality was not as bad as the anticipation.

For more information on how to prepare for the egg retrieval with good nutrition and calming techniques, download How to Cope with IVF.