How to Prepare for Your Egg Retrieval

by | Mar 11, 2022 | Fertility Preservation, IVF Services

What to know, how to prepare, and what to expect at the clinic after your egg retrieval

The egg retrieval is a major milestone in your IVF or egg freezing journey, and we have some tips on how to prepare for egg retrieval. It’s normal to feel excited, nervous, apprehensive, or a mix of emotions before your egg retrieval. You’ve worked hard and gone through so many preparations and medications to get to this point. We invite you to reflect and feel proud of making it this far! Here are some tips for preparing for your egg retrieval.

Prepare for Your Egg Retrieval: Talk to Your Team About What to Expect

The best way to feel comfortable and confident about your egg retrieval is to know what to expect. Before your retrieval, ask your team to walk you through the timeline for the egg retrieval, from the trigger shot (usually around 36 hours before the retrieval) to the recovery room after the procedure.

It’s also good to find out what to expect after the retrieval. Ask your doctor about how many follicles they’ve seen on the ultrasounds and how many eggs they are expecting to retrieve. You can also ask about common aftereffects of the procedure, such as bloating and fatigue, and less common situations like ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Your doctor may recommend increasing your protein and electrolyte intake around the timing of your procedure to reduce the risk of OHSS, and they may have other tips for pain management or addressing constipation.

Prepare for Your Egg Retrieval: Be Open with Your Team During the Procedure

It’s normal to feel nervous before the egg retrieval – any medical procedure can feel vulnerable or uncomfortable. Share your feelings with your team, so they can provide additional support to help you feel more comfortable. Try deep breathing and calming visualization exercises as you drift off to sleep in the procedure room.

After Your Egg Retrieval: Ask About the Results, and Give Yourself Space to Process Your Emotions

After the egg retrieval, ask your team how it went and how many eggs were retrieved. If the expected number of eggs were retrieved, great! Sometimes more eggs than expected are retrieved and sometimes fewer eggs are retrieved than expected. It can be hard to hear a number lower than you expected, so allow yourself to sit with any sadness, frustration, or disappointment that comes up. Talk with your team to make sure there were no issues during the procedure, and then try to remain positive and hopeful. Some people retrieve ten eggs but get five viable embryos, while some might retrieve five eggs and still get five embryos – there’s no magic number for success.

After Your Egg Retrieval: Be Informed About Communication and Next Steps

Before you leave the clinic, find out from your team how communication will work in the next days and weeks. Some good questions to ask include:

●       How will the clinic update you about the eggs and embryos? By phone, email, etc.?

●       When should you expect the clinic to contact you?

●       How can you reach your clinic if you have questions or concerns?

●       Who do you contact if you have concerns outside the clinic’s normal hours?

●       For fresh embryo transfer: what supportive medications should you be taking, and when?

●       For frozen embryo transfer: what are your next steps? Do you need to start birth control during your next period?

Asking questions in advance can help streamline the process so you don’t have to wait another cycle to move forward with the next steps in your journey.

After Your Egg Retrieval: Prepare for Pampering!

The egg retrieval is a medical procedure under anesthesia, and your body will need some time to recover afterward. Make sure you have a ride home from the clinic, as you can’t drive after the retrieval. Plan to take it easy the rest of the day: clear your schedule, think about takeout and watching your favorite movie, and generally try to arrange things so you only have to look after yourself.

The egg retrieval is an exciting and important milestone – you’ve done all the hard work and preparation, and now all that’s left is the procedure! Celebrate your progress, talk to your team about what to expect, and prepare to give yourself the day off for pampering and rest. If you have more questions about how to prepare for your egg retrieval, contact us – we’re happy to help.

Here is a video from PNWF’s Dr. Lora Shahine with more tips on how to prepare for your egg retrieval: