Female Egg Retrieval

Written by Will Baum
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Female egg retrieval is the first step in in vitro fertilization (IVF). Though the female egg retrieval process may sound scary at first, put your worries to rest. Professional fertility clinics handle in vitro fertilizations every day. To them, it's commonplace. Try to see it through their eyes.

The Female Egg Retrieval Process

Female egg retrieval is an outpatient procedure. You'll be back home the day you came in. Here is a quick, step-by-step guide about what to expect in a standard egg retrieval process. Different clinics may have slightly different approaches, but this is generally how it will go.

First, you are put on an IV drip of antibiotics and a light sedative. A catheter will help empty the bladder. Lidocaine, a local anesthetic numbs the cervix. Something called a "vaginal probe" (which may sound scary, but is not) is inserted past the cervix. The probe has a miniature ultrasound reader on the tip, allowing doctors to see what they're doing. Also on the tip of the probe is a needle. The doctor guides the probe to the ovaries and uses the needle to extract eggs. In about 30 minutes, the procedure is over. About two hours later, after the medication has worn off, you can go home. That's it, you're done.

Remember to follow your doctor's instructions about what medications you should be avoiding before the procedure. Your eggs will be combined with sperm within hours of the egg retrieval. That means, by the time you make it home, a laboratory version of pregnancy may have already begun.


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