egg retrieval

Let’s see, where do I start?  The whole experience actually went very well, and I have nothing to complain about.  Everyone was so nice!  When we first got to the hospital, I had to check in with pre-admissions for my surgery.  They gave me clothes to put on (which were very comfortable), and we waited around for about an hour.  A nurse called me back to take my vitals, then explained to me what the plan was for the day.  Around 7:30, another nurse took a group of us down to IVF clinic.  They put us all in separate rooms, where the doctors came by to explain the process again, tell me and Mike about the medications that I’ll be on, and to discuss when I’ll come back for transfer.  After that, the anesthesiologist came in to give me some medications and hook me up to an IV.  That was the first time I’d ever had an IV, and while it didn’t hurt anymore than any other needle, it was strange to have a tube running out of my arm.

Soon after I was hooked to the IV, I was taken back to the room for surgery where they started the anesthesia.  Within about 2 minutes, I was out.  The next thing I remember is them telling me that they had retrieved 24 eggs.  I woke up once they rolled me down the NICU, and a really nice nurse sat with me for the next half hour.  We had a really good conversation (I’m very talkative while under the influence of drugs 🙂 ), and the time passed by really fast.  I didn’t have much pain at that point, just a little twinge in my lower abdomen.  He told me that I wouldn’t remember anything from our conversation because of the drugs, but surprisingly I still do.  I remember telling him at one point that I should become a  nurse 🙂  That would be an interesting profession change.

Once they felt like I was awake enough, they took me to phase II, which was back to pre-admissions where I started off.  By that time, the pain had slightly increased, but nothing terrible.  Before they’d let me leave, I had to pee, but it took me over an hour to do that!  It was crazy.  I would have thought I’d have no problem since I’d had an IV in me for 2 hours.  I ended up drinking about 7 cups of water and an apple juice and finally was able to go enough for them to say we were released.  I meant to ask them the reason, but I never got around to it.

It wasn’t until the drive home that I started feeling very nauseous, and I was feeling grateful that I had no food on my stomach.  I’m sure Mike would not have appreciated me throwing up in his car.  He’s been so wonderful today.  He made me a sandwich for lunch, which was good because it was a light lunch.  I’m not sure I could have held down anything heavier.  And tonight he picked us up thai food and some of my favorite dessert, dark chocolate soy frozen yogurt 🙂

They gave me several medications, including antibiotics, steroids, and percocet for pain.  I haven’t taken the percocet yet, but I’ll probably take it before bed so I don’t have any problems sleeping tonight.  Maybe I’ll even take it before my progesterone in oil injection tonight.

Anyway, so they are supposed to call me tomorrow with the fertilization results and to let me know what time I should go in Monday morning for transfer.  If the embryos make it to blastocyst, they’ll push it to Wednesday, but I won’t know until Monday when I go in.  I’m really hoping that they make it to blastocyst, since they have a much better chance of implantation at that point.  I’m anxious for the phone call tomorrow to hear how many eggs fertilize!

34 Responses to “egg retrieval”

  1. katy Says:

    HI Holly,
    i am in process for a cycle of ivf. I am terrified of the injections and side effects?i am told about by those who have been through it that the FSh hormones are so painful and they have horrible symptoms such as bloating, nausea, nervousness, dizziness sleeplessness? my God if freaks me out just to wirte them all.

    I am particularly scared of the retreival. i know they say it’s quick and easy? but anesthesia is never easy even if it’s what they like to call “Conscious Sedation”….Did you feel horrible after your egg retrieval. I mean could you have gone to the office a few hours after your procedure? If you had to?

    I never thought this would be such a horrifying experience. I have to admit i get so angry with fear at times that i’d like to beat the living daylights out of my Dr. for agreeing with all my fears i bring up to him. i know it’s not his fault but these Docs make 20,000 dollars a pop for each ivf cycle i would think part of their process would be to have counseling and consoling for the patient and spouse?

    Anyway, good luck to you and i’ll post another soon if i can actually go through with it??? i am just on the BC pills to give my ovaries a rest supposedly and will probably start the injections on November 21.

    good luck
    childless in seattle

    • Jenn Says:

      Holly, don’t worry! I’ve donated my eggs 7 times and have not had any complications. My first cycle I was terrified. What meds did they give you? Are they all little needles or IM Injections (big needles)? If your fertility clinic is up to date they should all be little needles (which I sadly found out after a painful first cycle) I took Lupron which made my skin a little pink and itchy feel after injection, Follistem which didn’t bother me and Menopur which burned the entire time I injected it. What I do is numb the area with an ice pack, then swab with alcohol, then inject & repeat 3 2 times. I wouldn’t recommend going to work the day of. You’ll want to sleep. The day after I am always feeling much worse than the day of surgery and by day 3 – day 4 I feel well enough to resume normal activity. Day 2 is by far the worst. The more eggs the more discomfort… My cycle with 43 eggs was torture and took weeks before feeling well. My cycle with 11 eggs (less meds) felt easy. You will be bloated even more after retrieval which will go away (in my case) after about 2 periods pass but if your looking to get pregnant it may look like you are 3-4 months along.

  2. ewokmama Says:

    Yay! I hope you have lots of fertilized eggs that make it to blastocyst. Keep us posted!

  3. Holly Says:


    The injections effect everyone differently. I had very few side effects from the drugs. Lupron made me a little emotional, but that is to be expected while going through this type of procedure, regardless of medications. The FSH and hMG shots were not painful at all for me, they just stung a little bit when injecting. As long as you put the needle in quick and inject slowly, it shouldn’t be too bad – but understand that everyone’s experience is different. I did get bloated a little bit, but not nearly as bad as some of the stories I’ve read online. I just felt a little pressure in my lower abdomen. As far as the intramuscular injections, such as hCG and Progesterone in Oil, they are not bad at all! I expected much worse than they are. My husband gives them to me, and it really doesn’t hurt at all. You might be sore the next day, but nothing you can’t handle.

    The retrieval is very simple. The anesthesia they give is very light, it’s sedation, not general. Within a few minutes, you’ll just fall asleep. Afterwards, you may feel just a little twinge like I did, or you may have it worse, but it’s pain you should be able to deal with. They’ll give you pain medication to take that night – percocet works very well. The anesthesia may make you feel nauseous and possibly make you throw up, but I only experienced a little nausea on the drive home, and that went away as soon as I had something to eat when I got home. I would not suggest going back to work that day. You should give your body time to rest and heal from the surgery. I’m sure I could have gone, since my job just involves sitting in front of a computer, but it would not have been pleasant. You’ll probably sleep the rest of the day due to the anesthesia. I slept for about 5 hours once I got home, which helped me feel much better. I took percocet later, and was able to sleep again through the night. The pain in my abdomen is really not much worse than menstrual cramps – in fact it is much more bearable!

    Really, don’t let yourself get too scared. I had a very good experience, and while I’m not promising the same for yours, there’s really nothing to worry about. I was a little nervous about the retrieval, but it ended up being just fine. And there were two other girls that had their retrieval after me, and when I saw them, they seemed just fine as well.

    If you need any more information, please feel free to ask. Part of the reason I started this blog was to help others understand the process. I wish you luck with your IVF cycle.

    • mj Says:

      Thank you for sharing your wonderful and relax experience to put someone at ease. I’m now on my way to ER and it makes me so nervous. Probably next week. The tiny injections that I’m giving to myself everyday, the other shots from the hospital were bearable, it stinks but once they’re inside your skin I don’t feel a thing. What makes me uneasy now is the egg retrieval, so I keep reading some blogs regarding the treatment so I can cope and deal with this fear. Once again thank you.

    • mj Says:

      hank you for sharing your wonderful and relax experience to put someone at ease. I’m now on my way to ER and it makes me so nervous. Probably next week. The tiny injections that I’m giving to myself everyday, the other shots from the hospital were bearable, they sting but once they’re inside your skin I don’t feel a thing. What makes me uneasy now is the egg retrieval, so I keep reading some blogs regarding the treatment so I can cope and deal with this fear. Once again thank you

  4. Tara Says:

    I had a lot of pain for about a day, throbbing deep inside and I couldnt stand up straight. I wonder if the pain has to do with the number of eggs retrieved?? I had 15 retrieved and 10 fertilized.

  5. Lori Says:

    I just had 30 eggs retreived 3 days ago and still cannot stand-up straight for long. I also feel really bloated, like my stomach is distended. I feel lots of pressure. My Dr. said I would have more pain due to the number of eggs harvested.

  6. Keesha Says:


    I was relieved to get your posts, as I was convinced that something went severely wrong after my retrieval. I had 18 eggs removed. I came home and went straight to bed, and felt severely nauseous. I ate a small sandwich which didn’t help, and at 10 when it was time to take my progesterone I had vomiting and diarrhea. I proceeded to dry heave half the night. It was a nightmare. 3 days later and I can just barely up straight and my stomach is as bloated as if I’d hooked myself up to a bicycle pump. I wish you all the best.

  7. Keesha Says:

    Also Lori, how long did it take for you to feel back to normal?

  8. bukaroo Says:

    I had a egg retrievel on Sunday the 6th, 29 eggs, and still today feel cramping and have a brown/latex/paper like discharge? could this be a sac from an egg?
    they said normal activity within the next day, but this is day two and still have abdominal pain/cramping, and some shortness of breath.
    could it be from the number of eggs?
    Im a donor so jus concered….
    input anyone?????????

  9. Maribel Says:

    I did a cycle in December and I got severe OHSS! I felt like I was months pregnant and could not walk straight for two weeks…it was horrible! I told myself I would never do this again…but then another couple literally begged me to donate for them. The donor agency and the fertility center both told me that if I donated again there would be a decreased chance of getting OHSS since they would have my previous medical records and would decrease my dose. I signed the contract and started my meds…and they did not lower my dose…in fact, I think I my have taken even more! They would not lower the dose for some reason, and they kept saying I would be fine. I had my egg retreival a few days ago and it is the exact same thing! I am so mad…they don’t listed to egg donors cause they are just interested in the number of eggs, and could care less about our health once they get the eggs. I will NEVER do this again!

  10. Rachael Says:

    I just donated eggs on Sunday (two days ago), and everything went fine. They took out 14 eggs. I still am very bloated but stopped having period cramping and pain in my ovaries later that night. I am sitting at work and have to unbutton my pants because I am so bloated. I am also pretty constipated, which the doctor says is a side effect. I do sort of feel like the doctor doesn’t really care about me now that they have my eggs. The doctor was very good during the initial treatment, and called me back immediately when I had questions. Overall the experience was very good, and I am glad that I didn’t have any OHSS. I hope others have a pleasant experience as well!

  11. briana Says:

    I just finished donating eggs. I too feel that the dr.s tend to overstimulate patients without much regards to their health. They want to make sure that they get the most eggs. At my retrieval they got 30 eggs, which is a lot. I was in SEVERE pain, I was even crying. They prescribed me pain medication, but they would not have to worry about the OHSS If they would focus on PREVENTING it in people who are likely to overstimulate..which are young women who take to the hormones quickly and develop a lot of follicles. Many people don’t realize that the cycle should actually be cancelled if the follicles are developing too much because it is dangerous to continue with the HcG. My advice is to make friends with your Dr.s nurses. They can be so helpful. I called mine at 3 am when I was having terrible pain and she scheduled me to come in for an ultrasound and blood work to make sure I am ok. You have a right to see that you are properly cared for. Do your research and speak up. When they tell you something is normal, you can say well maybe it could be this… I go in for the ultrasound tomorrow hpefully everything is ok.

    • amy Says:

      I hyper-stimulated my ovaries the first go around. I have PCOS and I was donating to my sister who had ovarian cancer, and apparently PCOS makes you a high risk for hyper-stimulation. So we had to cancel retieval 2 days before it was due and start all over. The whole process ended up being a success and I have a beautiful 2 yr old niece now, but we are going through our second round for my 2nd niece/nephew and I am very nervous this will happen again. The doctor knows my past and my condition this time so I hope he will monitor me closely. I also had a terrible time with the retrieval and did not take to the medication and felt it all. I am praying that doesnt happen again. I am very scared of what I went through last time and suggestions or things I can do before surgery to help or relax so that I dont panic when I get there??

  12. Melanie Says:

    I had the surgery a week ago and I had never had surgery before. It was much easier than I had orginally thought! Good Luck!

  13. Lisa Says:

    Had retrieval two days ago, still very bloated. Got 52 (!) eggs, with 28 fertilized – we are so lucky. Any advice on getting rid of this bloat? Thanks!

  14. Sheri Says:

    I’m trying to find relief. Had my egg retrieval on Sunday (4 days ago) and still feel extremely bloated and nauseous. Don’t know how to feel better. They are freezing my eggs to do retrieval next cycle due to the pain I’m in. This is the first time through this so I’m at a loss. Any advice would be great.

  15. michelle Says:

    i have had 9 egg retrievals and t seems that the more eggs they retrieve the more bloating there is after the retrieval. every doctor and nurse has suggested to drink gatorade not water and eat foods high in protein and salt. First time i have ever been instructed to eat a salty steak by a doctor. it actually helps just don’t eat too much at a time or you will feel worse –something about eating salty food helps your body absorb the bloat. believe me after 9 egg retrieval i am a pro at this, and it does work. good luck to all.

  16. Kate Says:

    I am going in for surgery tomorrow and reading this makes me so nervous. I have had the surgery before, they removed 14 eggs in April, but this time I have 35 and I am worried it will hurt terribly! The surgery in April was not that bad. Should I be more concernced about this surgery? Thanks

  17. Sabrina Says:

    I just had a retreival on Thursday October 8th, today is Tuesday, October 13th, and I am still super bloated and constipated. This was my second round of donation, the first time around was so great. I had a doctor that monitered me every other day to make sure I didnt produce too many follicles and eggs…we ended up with 25 viable eggs anyway (my fault, on the last day I injected what I had been, didnt get the message in time to lower the dosage…)
    And I almost Hyperstimulated. but it still only took me a few days max to recover, and it was easy.
    You would think this time around, the doctor would read my chart and make sure to keep an eye on me since i have such a high resting follicle count…no such thing. I had 50 follicles!! they retreived 35 eggs, and my tummy is super distended, I look pregnant. I have to take a laxative every night, can still barely stand up straight for long periods of time…it pisses me off the unnecessary number of eggs, I mean what is this couple going to do with 35 eggs?!?!
    So they say the doctor has good numbers…well NO WONDER!!!
    A piece od advice, make sure your doctor moniters you EVERY OTHER DAY!!! and keep on them to not make you create sooo many eggs at once, what a toll this has played on my body, and my second time around… I wont be donating again because of this experience, thats for sure!

  18. Flordia Girl Says:

    I just did the whole cycle and although it was a great gift for someone I was in so much pain. I was throwing up the whole next day and have been in bed for 7 days now. I look like I am pregnant and cant get the swelling to go down…..

    • Jordy's Mommy Says:

      Sounds like you had a pretty bad experience–similar to mine. I just had my retrieval last Friday (9/17/10), in which they retrieved 70 eggs- 45 fertilized and went on to blastocysts. I’m not up for the transfer right now, since I’m at risk for OHSS. My question is–how long did it take for your abdominal swelling to go down? I’m beginning to feel better (5 days later), but I can’t fit any of my pants. I just want to gain some perspective on all this. Hope you’re well.

      • Renee Says:

        I had 72 eggs retrieved and had a horrible recovery! 68 were viable, all I remember upon waking up was all the staff in disbelief due to the large number. It took me months for my abdomen to return to normal. I developed OHSS which made recovery painful and extended. My abdomen was so distended I developed ascites even breathing was difficult!

  19. Danielle Says:

    Hi Everyone
    I just had a retrieval on Tuesday June 8th and had terrible feeling of bloating the next day.. so i just drank gatorade when thirsty..i didnt overdo it, and had fairly salty food. I found later that it felt better to eat super small portions a few times a day.. so breakfast is 2 strips of turkey bacon and 1/4c of V8 then a few hours later string cheese …almost just enough to take the antibiotics. My doctor noticed how high my estrogen was and one day prior to the retrieval put me on Dostinex. So if your E2 levels are high prior to retrieval you may be a good candidate for this medication so your OHSS doesn’t get too severe. I honestly dont know if its the dostinex or the fact that im eating so little that has stopped the bloating but I hope this helps someone else. I was all over the internet trying to figure out how to stop this pain the other night. Today is the 4th day after retreival and Im still on bedrest. I cant walk very far and today am having some pain twinges in the lower abdomen..wondered if anyone else had this? Im expected to go get my transfer on Sunday and im not sure i could even get myself in the stirrups from the soreness …

    • Jordy's Mommy Says:

      Thanks for your post. I had my egg retrieval on Friday, September 17th. My RE retrieved a 70 eggs, in which 45 fertilized and made it on to blast. The information you shared in your post was very helpful. Do you remmeber how long it took for the abdominal swelling to go down?

  20. Phylicia Says:

    I had my egg retreval on the 15 of July they got 19 eggs. 14 of them fertilized. I’m so bloated all the way up to my breasts. Has this happened to anyone else? My dr is shooting for a five day transfer I just hope some swelling goes down. I have been drinking loads of Gatorade and eating salty almonds and potatoe chips. any one know what else could help? Thanks!

  21. amy Says:

    I am going the my second round of donating eggs to my sister. We done this once and now she has a beautiful 2 yr old baby girl, however I am very scared going into this one. My last one didnt go very well. First they hyper-stimulated my ovaries(which was very painful) and then the egg retrieval was awful! I did not take to the sedation and felt it all. It was the most horrible experience I have had, but worth it for my niece. I am just terrified it will happen again. We have a new doctor and so far things are great, my surgery should be in the next 5 to 6 days I just pray this one goes better:/ I am very nervous I will not take to the meds again and I am not sure If I can handle that pain again…

  22. Jordy's Mommy Says:

    I had my egg retrieval on Friday, September 17th. My RE retrieved a whopping 70 eggs, in which 45 fertilized and made it on to blast. I am a research scientist, and in most cases pain level correlates with the number of follicles/eggs retrieved. Needless to say my estradiol was up after 3 days of stim meds and I am still huge and in pain 5 days post retrieval.

    Oddly, according to my monitoring- ultrasound, none of my follicles were bigger than 16mm on day 13. My husband and I became VERY frustrated, as I didn’t take very well to the stimulation meds. I was bloated and nauseas the entire time and there was no way we wanted to forfeit the cycle. My argument was that some women just have smaller follicles–it doesn’t mean that my eggs aren’t mature. In any case, based on the retrieval and fertilization report, I am correct. MOSTLY all of my eggs were mature and of great quality. My RE is amazed and he’s been practicing for 30 years (RE for 20 yrs) and he’s NEVER seen this type of result. Sadly, I’m too sick (abdominal pain and nausea) to undergo the transfer today. Thus, we’ll be freezing ALL 45 embryos tomorrow (day 6).

    It appears tha everyone’s experience is somewhat different. I LOVE my work as a scientist, as I can look past the “norm” for REAL answers and experiences. Thanks for sharing. I hope you all are doing well and are on your way to having successful pregnancies:-).

    • Kate Redman Says:

      Hi jordy
      Finally I’ve found someone in a similar position to me. I just had 99 eggs retrieved. It’s day 6 and I am still exhausted and hardly have an appetite after 10am and feel quite sick. Weirdly the symptoms are getting worse, tho I have no bloating or abdominal pain. Did your symptoms post retrieval last a while do you remember? Thanks

  23. Leslie Says:

    I had my egg retrieval 4 days ago, and ever since then I have been miserable. My RE collected 42 eggs, and I was in intense pain upon waking up. The nurse quickly gave me Demerol and then another pain med. after that. When I stood up to leave, I went white and almost passed out. My RE says this type of pain is due to the number of eggs he collected. After I got home, I felt nauseous but okay. I took percocet, and felt very bloated. The next morning I had severe indigestion in my chest. That feeling kept getting worse until my whole abdomen felt like I had eaten two turkey dinners. I continued to feel miserable the rest of the day. The next day, I thought something was seriously wrong when I could barely breath due to a stomach ache and my chest feeling so gassy. I called my RE and asked if I could take a laxative b/c I was constipated and really haven’t felt like eating anything. They told me this was totally normal! I felt like I was going to die.

    After being up all night after the laxative, I feel a bit better today. Tomorrow is supposed to be my blastocyst transfer, but my RE is almost certain I will develop OHSS, so we are going in for an ultrasound to check fluid accumulation tomorrow. I am also on cabergoline and ondansetron (to help with nausea from the first drug) to help lessen the severity of OHSS if it happens…has anyone else been on this? I currently have 9 embies, so we will most likely freeze them and wait until I feel better. Has anyone else had such problems in the digestive tract and chest with egg retrieval? There doesn’t seem to be a lot out there about it. Good luck to everyone going through this…from what I understand, my case is pretty abnormal.

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