Egg Retrieval Procedure: What to Expect Nov 20, 2023 | by Donor Nexus

At the conclusion of your egg donation cycle, you will undergo the egg retrieval procedure. In this blog, we share what happens during the egg retrieval and share a video from a previous egg donor sharing her experience to help you know what to expect. At Donor Nexus, we aim to empower all potential egg donors with transparent information about each step of the egg donation process. If you have any additional questions as you prepare for your egg retrieval, our team is here to help.

When Do Egg Donors Undergo the Egg Retrieval Procedure?

After 10-12 days of self-injecting fertility medications, you will administer a trigger shot to prepare your ovaries for the egg retrieval. Typically about 32-36 hours after you give yourself the trigger shot, it will be time for the egg retrieval procedure.

The Egg Retrieval Procedure: What to Expect

The egg retrieval itself only takes about 20-30 minutes and is done as an outpatient procedure under monitored anesthesia care to keep you comfortable. You will be given a detailed explanation of the process from your nurse when you arrive. You are closely monitored by both your physician and anesthesiologist throughout the procedure.

The egg retrieval procedure takes 20-30 minutes and is done under monitored anesthesia care. Learn more and watch a video in this blog post.

As a one-on-one donor with Donor Nexus, your egg retrieval will be done at the intended parent's designated fertility clinic. As an egg banking donor with Donor Nexus Egg Bank, your egg retrieval will take place at HRC Fertility in Newport Beach, California.

What Happens During the Egg Retrieval Procedure?

Using ultrasound guidance, a thin needle is inserted through the vaginal wall to reach the ovaries. The eggs are gently suctioned out through the needle into a tube. As stated above, the procedure itself is very quick (only about 20 minutes) and you will be awake and ready to go home about an hour after the procedure.

This diagram shows how the egg retrieval procedure works:

 This diagram shows how the egg retrieval procedure works when donating your eggs to be used during IVF.

Recovery Following Your Egg Retrieval

If your cycle is out of state, you can bring a companion with you so you are not alone during and after your procedure. If you are unable to find a companion, a nurse will be hired for you. For both one-on-one donors and egg banking donors, we will cover all travel expenses for you and your companion.

We recommend that you take it easy for the rest of the day following your egg retrieval. It's common for donors to experience mild side effects such as cramping and/or bloating for about a week following retrieval as the ovaries settle down. Within a day or two following the retrieval, you should be back to normal activity with no restrictions. Most donors return to work/school the following day.

Egg Retrieval Procedure Video

In this video, an egg donor shares insights about what the egg retrieval procedure is like. If you prefer text, we have the video transcribed for you below.

Video Transcript:

Hi, I recently completed an egg donation cycle and I wanted to provide you with some insights about what the egg retrieval procedure is like. 

Right before my procedure, they inserted an IV. Then, I was walked over to the operating room. For the procedure, you will be strapped onto this chair with leg supports. Trust me, it’s a lot more comfortable than it sounds. 

In this blog, we explain step by step what the egg retrieval procedure is like for egg donors.

Then the anesthesiologist will provide you with IV sedation and monitor you throughout your entire egg retrieval. Next, your vaginal area will be cleansed with sterile saline. A long, thin needle with a test tube at the end of it will be attached to a transducer. It looks a lot like the vaginal ultrasound wand. 

Each ovary is only punctured one time. There are no incisions. The needle is then gently guided to each follicle. This is what it looks like when the needle is first inserted into the follicle. 

Egg retrieval procedure

This is what it looks like when the needle drains the fluid. As the follicular fluid is drained, it accumulates in the test tube. The tube is then capped and passed to the embryologist. My procedure took about 20-30 minutes but it depends on how many follicles you have.

Egg retrieval procedure

When I woke up, I did experience some discomfort, but it was very similar to menstrual cramps. After the egg retrieval, you will experience bloating for about 2-4 days, which is totally normal. By 5-10 days after your egg retrieval, you should be feeling back to normal. 


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