IVF Egg Retrieval

In order to complete the IVF procedure, eggs must be removed from the female’s ovaries. This is known as an IVF egg retrieval. During this procedure, a needle is passed into the ovaries with guidance from a transvaginal ultrasound. The needle is advanced into each follicle where an egg has been developing. The fluid is aspirated from the follicle into a test tube. The needle is moved into each follicle to allow removal of all of the eggs which developed from both ovaries. Typically, this involves several needle sticks. The IVF egg retrieval typically takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

For most women, without anesthesia, the IVF egg retrieval is an uncomfortable procedure. With anesthesia, it is very easy to perform for the doctor with little to no discomfort for the patient.

Video of an egg retrieval at NFC

The night before IVF egg retrieval

It is extremely important that do not eat or drink anything after 7:00 p.m. the night before surgery. Do not smoke or chew gum. It is okay to brush your teeth but do not swallow water. If you are currently taking medication, ask you doctor if you should stop taking it.

Check with your doctor to see if medication should be taken the night before the surgery in order to lessen the risk of blood clots forming during the surgery.

Nail polish, make-up and jewelry should be removed the night before surgery. Wear loose-fitting clothes.

Be sure you take any medications that your doctor instructed you to take before the egg retrieval such as antibiotics.

Immediately before IVF Egg Retrieval

Please arrive at Naperville Fertility Center one half hour before your procedure. After you check in at the Naperville Fertility Center front desk, you will be taken to a private admit / recovery room. You will be asked to remove all of your clothing (including underwear) and put on a patient gown. The nurse will complete a medical history and you will be asked to sign consent forms. One of our board certified anesthesiologists will also review your medical history and will then place an intravenous (IV) line in your arm. At this point, there is nothing but saline going into your veins, but later, the anesthesiologist will use this to administer medications to you.

Immediately prior to the IVF egg retrieval, you will be asked to empty your bladder. Glasses, contact lenses, and jewelry (including piercings) should be removed. NFC has installed a locker in each admit / recovery room. Your valuables can be locked up and you can take the key with you or given to the person who accompanied you.

In the Operating Room

For the IVF egg retrieval, you will be taken to the operating room on a cart (essentially a bed on wheels). You will be asked to slide over to the cushioned operating room table. At this point, everyone in the operating room will be asked to stop what they are doing and perform a “time out”. During the time out, you will be asked to say your first and last name, date of birth and the type of surgery you are having. You will be asked to confirm whether or not you have any allergies. Then, the various members of the operating room will complete a checklist to make sure that all of the equipment for the surgery is present and working and to confirm that any medications are identified to the surgeon and labeled correctly. At the conclusion of the time out, the anesthesiologist will administer the medication to allow you to drift off to sleep for the surgery.

After IVF egg retrieval

After the IVF egg retrieval, you will wake up in the same room that you were first admitted to prior to the procedure. You will be connected to monitors that allow the recovery room nursing staff to check your blood pressure, pulse and temperature frequently. The anesthesia medication will cause you to have limited short term memory. This means that you may not remember things you said or heard even a few minutes before. This is normal and will last only a short time.

The nursing staff is going to make sure that you are stable and not having any problems after the surgery. Your partner or family member will be allowed to stay in the room with you while you are recovering. You may have something to eat and drink.

Your physician will let you (or your partner if you are too sleepy) how many eggs were retrieved during the procedure.

Medication will be available for pain or nausea. Medications will initially be administered though the IV until you are able to drink. Once you are able to drink, you can take oral medications such as acetaminophen.

You will remain in the recovery area at NFC until you are determined stable and able to be discharged. For most patients, you can expect to stay in the recovery area for 30 to 60 minutes. The nursing staff will be evaluating your

  • vital signs to make sure you are stable
  • vaginal bleeding
  • ability to tolerate eating or drinking without experiencing nausea or vomitting

Most women find that they do not need to take pain medications after an IVF egg retrieval. If necessary, you may take acetaminophen. If you have pain that is not releived by acetaminophen, you should contact your doctor’s office right away.

After Surgery Care and Follow up

Pain and bleeding

Some women may experience some cramping after an IVF egg retrieval. Much of this is actually due to the stimulation of the ovaries from the fertility medications. After the egg retrieval, the ovaries become even more enlarged due to higher levels of hormone production. Most women indicate that the cramping is similar to or less than the cramping they have from their periods. It is common for women to experience vaginal spotting or bleeding after an IVF egg retrieval. Again, this is usually similar to or less than the bleeding from a period. If you experience heavy bleeding, such as soaking one to two pads an hour for several hours in a row, this is not normal. You should call your doctor’s office.


Unless you are told otherwise, you may eat or drink anything you like. Some patients will experience nausea from the anesthesia medications.  If you do experience nausea please call your doctor’s office and speak either with the physician or with the nurse.


For the first 24 hours after your IVF egg retrieval, you should just rest at home. You should not drive or operate machinery. You may resume normal activities after the first 24 hours.


If you feel like you have a fever, please take your temperature.  Notify your doctor’s office if your temperature is 101 degrees or higher.

Sexual Activity

Sexual activity may be resumed after your vaginal bleeding has stopped.

The day after the IVF egg retrieval

Your doctor’s office will notify you regarding the number of eggs that had sperm added and how many ultimately fertilized. Please refer to your instructions regarding the dose and type of medications that should be taken after the egg retrieval.