Find out everything you need to know about the egg retrieval process. We can tell you the benefits, risks, recovery time and more. Let Extraordinary Conceptions answer your questions about IVF egg retrieval!

What is an egg retrieval?

Many families who struggle to conceive choose to work with an egg donor. These arrangements involve a donated egg, which is then fertilized and implanted either into the Intended Mother or a surrogate. In order to make this happen, donors undergo a simple procedure. This procedure is called an egg retrieval. This is one of the major steps in the overall egg donor process. 

What does an egg retrieval procedure entail?

The egg retrieval procedure is minimally-invasive, fairly straightforward, and is typically performed in an outpatient setting. However, donors typically receive general anesthesia for this procedure. You will be able to bring a companion along for this procedure. 

The egg retrieval procedure itself takes around a half hour. As it is minimally invasive, it will not require any incisions or stitches. Instead, your doctor will use an ultrasound probe to bring your eggs to your ovaries, and then retrieve them using a process called aspiration. 

What will my egg retrieval recovery be like?

In the 24 hours following your egg retrieval procedure, you may be asked to follow specific recovery instructions. Typically, you will spend a few hours in an onsite recovery room after your procedure, and will then be driven home (or to your hotel) by your companion. Ideally, they should stay with you over the next 24 hours.

Everybody has a different experience with egg retrieval recovery. Some donors feel fine straight away, while others experience some temporary discomfort. Your clinic will provide you with post-procedural instructions for any discomfort or other temporary side effects.

Most donors feel okay to get back to their regular daily routine a couple of days after their procedure. However, your doctor might recommend you wait until your next period begins before returning to more strenuous activities, like exercise. 

Should I expect an irregular or different period after egg retrieval?

Some donors experience spotting or bleeding after their egg retrieval procedure. In terms of a full period after egg retrieval, most donors find that they begin a new menstrual cycle around a week and a half after their procedure. 

Do donors ever experience bloating after egg retrieval?

Some donors experience bloating and/or constipation as a side effect of their egg retrieval procedure. It is also not uncommon to experience cramping, discomfort, and soreness around the pelvis.  Many donors choose to take over-the-counter pain relief for this discomfort, though ibuprofen is typically not recommended. Your clinic will provide specific instructions for post-procedural relief.

Please note that, as this procedure uses general anesthetic, you may experience related side effects. Some people react to these types of sedatives with nausea and vomiting. You also might feel exhaustion. If you are concerned about these side effects, speak with your doctor about management options. 

Should I expect a hormone crash after egg retrieval?

These days, egg retrieval procedures are much more common than they used to be. They are used for IVF, donation cycles, and to be frozen for later implantation. As more conversations around this procedure began cropping up, we started hearing more about something called a hormone crash. After egg retrieval procedures, some patients report feeling highly emotional, irritable, and anxious. This is often attributed to the “crash” the body experiences when it stops taking required pre-retrieval medications and hormones. While these incidents are typically anecdotal and have not yet been officially studied, it is something to keep in mind. We recommend speaking with your doctor about any concerns you have regarding a potential hormone crash after egg retrieval, as they may have worked with patients who experienced this personally. 

Are there specific requirements to be an egg donor?

Yes! Being an egg donor is a large responsibility. Because of this, there are many regulations in place to ensure that egg donors are physically and emotionally able to undertake this role. This ensures the safety of everybody involved: the donor, her intended parents, the potential surrogate, and of course, the coming baby. 

Ready to apply to become a donor yourself? Have a look at our website to see if you meet the egg donor requirements for Extraordinary Conceptions!

Don’t see your question about egg retrieval covered here? Please get in touch with the Extraordinary Conceptions team for all the information you need. We look forward to helping you navigate this exciting journey. 

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