Egg Retrieval- What to Expect


By the time an egg donor or IM reaches her retrieval day she very fertile and ready to have upwards of 30 eggs extracted! The idea of something coded as a minor surgical procedure can sound a little scary, but the truth is that this is a very routine in office process that is generally pain free.

The donor or IM will be typically scheduled for a morning appointment at the clinic. It is usually a good idea to arrive a bit early in order to fill out any paperwork and have time to ask any questions you may have. As you will be placed under light sedation for the procedure, you should not consume food after midnight on the day of the retrieval.

When it is time for the procedure you will be put under light sedation for comfort. The doctor will then use a very small needle, guided by an ultrasound, to retrieve the eggs. The needle is inserted through the vagina where it will pass into the follicles and ovaries. The needle then extracts the eggs with a gentle suction action. The fluid surrounding the eggs is also extracted. After the eggs have been safely captured the needle and ultrasound wand are removed. The entire procedure takes between 15-30 minutes to complete.

Despite the quick procedure you should plan on spending another two to three hours at the office. The doctor will want you to come out of the light sedation state and monitor you for a while before releasing you. Plan on having someone at the clinic with you in order to drive you home.

Once you’re home you are encouraged to spend the rest of the day resting and recovering. You can expect to feel menstrual cramping and to see some light blood spotting when you wipe. If the pain or bleeding become extreme you should call your nurse to let her know what you’re experiencing.  Painful urination, a temperature above 101.0 degrees, fainting or vomiting are all highly unlikely but should also be reported if experienced. Normal activities can typically resume the day following the retrieval.

Occasionally the doctor will ask to see you in office one final time following your next period. This is just a precaution to make sure you’ve healed properly.

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for intended parents, surrogates and donors. She is the co-owner of Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) as well as the children's book You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. She has two adult daughters.