Infertility is a problem that is experienced by a large number of couples today. Whether the result of genetics or the later-in-life decision to start a family, it is not uncommon for couples to realize that conception does not always come as easily as we may expect. Fortunately, the scientific advances in fertility treatment make it possible for couples with almost any infertility problem to experience the joys of pregnancy and parenthood. At Dr. Sonja Kristiansen’s fertility center, we offer a full range of fertility treatment, with in vitro fertilization being our most popular and successful treatment for couples facing infertility. Many of our patients in Houston have questions regarding egg retrieval, one of the six steps of fertility treatment. We explain the egg retrieval process so that patients feel comfortable about how treatment will proceed.
The Egg Retrieval Process
Egg retrieval, which is the third step in a six-step IVF treatment process, is vital to the success of treatment. One of the most important factors in ensuring the success of egg retrieval is timing. Prior to egg retrieval (during the ovulation stimulation process) the patient will be instructed to administer a final dose of Follistim. We will provide a specific time for this dosage and it is imperative to adhere to these instructions, as this will be the basis for scheduling egg retrieval, which is the process of retrieving eggs from the ovaries for fertilization outside of the body.
The egg retrieval process will take place in our egg retrieval suite, which has special air filtration. The patient will be under light sedation so that there is no discomfort felt during treatment. Using a needle that is guided by ultrasound, Dr. Kristiansen will aspirate (or remove) mature eggs from the ovaries. There are two ways in which this procedure can be performed. The most common technique is to insert the needle through the back of the vaginal wall. However, in rare instances when the ovaries aren’t accessible through transvaginal ultrasound, Dr. Kristiansen may perform egg retrieval through the abdomen.
Once the mature follicles have been retrieved, the fertilization process will begin. Using sperm from the semen collection process, the egg will be injected to promote fertilization. During this stage of treatment, additional manipulations (such as ICSI, the injection of a single sperm) can be made for couples where there is a male fertility problem.
Side Effects of Egg Retrieval
The side effects of egg retrieval are minimal, in fact many women do not experience any side effects following treatment. However, for those who do report side effects, the most common are cramping, bloating, or a feeling of fullness. These side effects should be mild and will typically subside within a day or two after treatment.
Schedule a Consultation
Every stage of IVF treatment is vital to the overall success of treatment, which is why Dr. Sonja Kristiansen puts such care and expertise into each step of the IVF process. If you have more questions about egg retrieval or IVF treatment in general, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kristiansen at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you!