Egg Retrieval: The Final Phase of Donating Eggs Apr 30, 2024 | by Lucy Solie-Vilker, Program Director

One of the most important steps in the egg donation process is the last step: the egg retrieval. This is a medical procedure to extract eggs from your ovaries at the end of your egg donation cycle. We understand that the egg retrieval procedure can sound intimidating, so we're here to guide you through the process to help you prepare and know exactly what to expect. To give you a firsthand look, we've also included a video from a donor sharing her experience!

Getting Ready for Your Egg Retrieval

Before undergoing egg retrieval surgery, it's important to prepare both physically and mentally. Here are some key tips to set yourself up for the best possible experience:

  1. Follow Medical Advice: Your doctor will provide specific instructions on medications, a healthy diet, and activities leading up to the procedure.
  2. Understand the Process: Understanding the steps involved can ease anxiety and make the experience less intimidating.
  3. Arrange Support: Ensure you have someone to accompany you to the clinic and drive you home after the procedure. If you don't have a companion, Donor Nexus will hire a private nurse for you.
  4. Remove Nail Polish or Acrylics: The clinic will require you to remove any nail polish or fake nails, as a monitor will be attached to your finger to measure your oxygen levels during the procedure.

The Egg Retrieval Process: What to Expect

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 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.

How Does the Egg Retrieval Surgery Work?

During the egg retrieval surgery, a thin needle is inserted through the vaginal wall to reach the ovaries using ultrasound guidance. The eggs are gently suctioned out through the needle into a tube. The procedure is very quick, and you will be awake and ready to go home about an hour afterward.

 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 to travel 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: What to Expect

In this video, an egg donor shares insights about what the egg retrieval procedure is like.

A Day In the Life of an Egg Donor Vlog: Egg Retrieval Day

Tag along with a Donor Nexus egg donor before and after the egg retrieval procedure!


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Additional Egg Donor Videos:

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We are always here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to start your journey!