Types of Egg Retrieval in IVF

Egg retrieval is a relatively quick and painless procedure. Patients are sedated and are given a pain medication. A female does not feel any pain and the whole procedure will usually not last longer than 20 minutes.

However, quick and painless does not necessarily mean that the procedure is simple to perform and is not connected to the possible complications. In reality, egg retrieval is a medical task that requires a huge expertise and diligence.

There are two popular egg retrieval methods.

Transvaginal Ultrasound Aspiration

This is the most common retrieval method. During it, an ultrasound probe is inserted in the vagina in order to identify follicles. It is followed by a very thin needle that goes in the follicles and removes eggs from them. The fluid in the follicles is aspirated with the needle and eggs are detached from the follicle wall.

Laparoscopic retrieval

There is a possibility that the ovaries are not accessible through the transvaginal ultrasound and a different method has to be used. In this case, the procedure will be performed with the very thin tube with the high resolution camera (laparoscope), which is inserted through the small incision in the lower part of the navel and is used to guide the needle for the retrieval. The procedure will be called laparoscopy, or medically, laparoscopic ovum pick up.

Though we have never had worse case scenarios, it is worth knowing that egg retrieval procedures, unless performed very gently, can result in damaged blood vessels or internal organs. There is also a slight chance of infection, which can be treated with antibiotics. However, intended parents do not have to worry about possible complications as the procedures are performed by the professionals, who have perfectly mastered egg retrieval techniques throughout their experience of many years.

Sometimes intended parents want to have personal choice and prefer one method over another.
In reality, there is not much up to our choice.

As seen from the examples, it should be taken into account that despite the fact that the procedure itself is relatively painless for the patient, it is generally a very complex task.
In comparison to transvaginal ultrasound aspiration, laparoscopic pick up may still be of a higher load as it includes a small incision. As a result, when there is no special need for the laparoscopy, doctors would rather not perform it. On the other hand, when the ovaries cannot be accessed otherwise, it makes no sense to require an ultrasound retrieval method.

As the doctor becomes familiar with the individual situation and the medical history of the patient, it will be possible to assume which of the egg retrieval techniques is more reasonable and appropriate to perform.