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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Egg collection

After a bit of a hiatus (for which I apologise), this post will explain the process of egg collection or oocyte retrieval. It may sound scary but it isn't, really! The time of the egg collection is dictated by that of the trigger injection (hCG or GnRH analog). The time interval is slightly shorter if analog trigger is given. The procedure can be done either under sedation or short general anaesthesia. Commonly it is a short procedure and takes 15- 20 minutes. It may take longer or shorter time depending on the number of follicles that have developed as well as the type of anaesthesia.

Egg collection is almost always done through the vaginal approach. The ultrasound probe (that is used for the internal scan) has an attachment which enables the surgeon to guide the needle into each of the follicles, one at a time and take the fluid out. The eggs come along with the fluid. The fluid from the follicles is collected in test tubes and taken to the laboratory where the eggs are separated and kept in culture medium at optimal conditions in the incubator till the next step of fertilization.

Occasionally massive enlargement of uterus (from fibroids), prior surgery or rarely congenital anomalies may lead to displacement of the ovaries and may require egg collection to be done from the abdominal route. This can either be done through the abdomen using the ultrasound guidance or through keyhole surgery.

Depending on the anesthesia given for the procedure the recovery time may vary from 1-3 hours. Common symptoms to expect are nausea or vomiting (especially after general anesthesia), mild/minimal vaginal bleeding, and abdominal pain/tenderness. Heavy bleeding, severe pain, fever, smelly vaginal discharge, persistent vomiting should be reported to the doctor. If you have any other symptoms, please also consult/inform your specialist.

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