Congrats! You’ve made it to your egg retrieval! This is a huge deal and you should be so proud of all you have accomplished to this point. Between all the scheduling, frequent monitoring, injections and other medications, you’ve finally made it to your big day! But you have some reservations about the procedure, namely what are the possible complications you might face. Let’s talk about that.
The egg retrieval is an extremely safe and relatively simple procedure that averages 15 minutes from start to finish. Our anesthesiologist will administer medications through your IV so that you are comfortably asleep the whole time. Once asleep, the fertility doctor will place an ultrasound probe vaginally and look at your follicles on the monitor. This step is identical to what you've experienced during all those early morning monitoring appointments.
Once your follicles are in clear view, the doctor will advance a thin needle through your vaginal wall and into the egg follicle. You can think of the egg follicle as a small water balloon filled with fluid and a single egg.
The doctor will use a machine to apply gentle suction and drain the fluid from the follicle. This fluid is collected in a test tube, then handed to the embryologist who evaluates it under a microscope and counts any eggs that are collected.
This process of piercing the follicles with needles, draining fluid, and counting eggs, continues until all visible follicles are drained and the procedure is complete.
After your egg retrieval, you are carefully transported back to the recovery area where you will be monitored as you wake up. Most women feel woozy (slightly disoriented) from the anesthesia, and some will experience a sense of fullness or mild menstrual cramp-like discomfort. Very rarely do we need to administer anything more than Tylenol after the procedure.
You will be monitored for approximately an hour, then sent home to rest for the remainder of the day. Nearly all of our patients are back to normal activities the next day. (We will always call you to make sure you're feeling well after your procedure.)
Let’s talk about the biggest side effects of an egg retrieval procedure. As mentioned above, patients are typically ready to resume normal activities by the next day. Here is a list of the more common, mild symptoms you may experience after an egg retrieval:
. Feeling of fullness
Once hormone treatment has led the ovaries to create a large number of antral follicles ready to ovulate, a surgeon must retrieve the eggs from the follicles by putting a needle through the wall of the vagina into the ovary and using the needle to aspirate the individual follicles. This surgery must be done with anesthesia, and there are a number of health risks that accompany the surgery and the anesthesia.
The statistics on egg retrieval surgery indicate that the risks of complication are relatively low. One study of several hundred thousand surgeries found, for example, that vaginal bleeding occurred in 0.07 percent of the women, intestinal injuries in 0.001 percent, and peritonitis in 0.005 percent. Only 0.002—or 2 in every 100,000—had complications that required surgery to correct.
Complications due to infection are rare as well. Although a 1993 study found 9 patients out of 1,000 had pelvic abscesses that needed to be treated, that seems to have been due to a failure to consistently use aseptic techniques. A later study in which aseptic techniques were used found no abscesses that required treatment.
Ovarian torsion is another rare complication in women undergoing IVF—about 0.13 percent of the time, according to one study. This complication seems mainly due to the softening of the ligaments that occurs during pregnancy. It should be added that this can also occur due to hyperstimulation, even in the absence of pregnancy.
Various factors increase the risk of complications from retrieval surgery, including previous surgeries, a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, and pelvic adhesions. All these factors are more likely to be found in women undergoing in vitro fertilization than in the general population, which implies that egg donors should have much lower surgical risks than women undergoing IVF.
Patients undergoing egg retrieval surgery generally rely on either intravenous anesthesia or intravenous conscious sedation. In general, anesthesia is safe, with deaths occurring only once every 200,000 to 300,000 cases. Because egg donors have few of the factors that increase the risks of anesthesia, including being male, being older, being obese, having inpatient rather than outpatient surgery, having surgery in an emergency setting, and having a high ASA classification, anesthesia should be even safer for egg donors than it is for surgical patients in general.
There are two main ways that surgery may affect a woman’s future fertility—either by bleeding and infection from the surgery leading to adhesions and the need for further surgeries, or else by the trauma to the ovaries causing the creation of antibodies that may make fertilization of an oocyte more difficult—but there is no data supporting either of these possibilities.
Patients often have questions about a very rare condition that can develop during the egg retrieval phase of IVF called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, or “OHSS” for short. This is a medical complication that affects approximately 3% (or less) of women undergoing IVF each year.
It occurs when the ovaries have an abnormally robust response to the fertility medications that are prescribed. A large number of egg follicles grow, the ovaries continue to swell, and eventually leak fluid into the pelvis. The good news is that with early diagnosis, and careful monitoring, this condition will resolve on its own within 7-10 days.
It's very rare that a patient will need to be admitted to the hospital for around-the-clock monitoring (in fact, I’ve only seen this twice in my 20+ years as a nurse). So, while severe cases of OHSS are not common, it's good to be aware of what symptoms to look out for.
These are the most common symptoms of If you experience any of the following symptoms, reach out to your nurse or doctor:
. Abdominal pain
. Abdominal tenderness
. Difficulty breathing
. Tight/enlarged abdomen
. Rapid weight gain
. Decreased urination
Iranian surgery is an online medical tourism platform where you can find the best doctors and fertility specialists in Iran. The price of IVF in Iran can vary according to each individual’s case and will be determined by an in-person assessment with the doctor.
For more information about the cost of IVF in Iran and to schedule an appointment in advance, you can contact Iranian Surgery consultants via WhatsApp number 0098 901 929 0946. This service is completely free.