What to expect on retrieval day

eggs-out

So, the big day has finally arrived! The doctor is thrilled with how your ovaries are looking, you’ve finished all of your injections, fasted for a few hours and you’re ready to go. It’s retrieval day.

While you should have been able to fit your appointments in around work or classes, you absolutely must take the day off on egg retrieval day. While you’ll only be in the clinic for around three hours, you need to factor in some time to recover from the anesthetic (you might still be quite groggy), and REST. Make sure you’re stocked up at home with snacks and drinks and painkillers, just in case.

When you arrive at the clinic (usually sometime between 7am and noon – most retrievals are scheduled in the morning), you’ll be checked over by an anesthetist and a nurse to make sure that everything’s A-okay before you’re given a VERY sexy hospital gown to change into.

By this time you’ll have been in and around the clinic so often that you’ll recognise friendly faces – so if you’re feeling nervous or have any questions, don’t be shy! When it’s time to get started, someone will walk you into the procedure room to get you settled on the bed and ready to go.

You will have been asked to fast for a few hours before you undergo anesthetic, which is referred to as “twilight” anesthesia. The anaesthetist will insert a cannula to administer the anesthetic, and you’ll be asked to count backwards from 10. You’ll be out before you know it!

While you’re out, your eggs will be retrieved by a process known as “ultrasound directed needle aspiration”. A needle is passed through the top wall of your vagina, guided by ultrasound, into the ovaries and then the follicles to get at the eggs. The eggs are then ‘sucked’ in through an aspiration needle and safely retrieved. The amazing thing? This process takes less than 30 minutes! That’s shorter than an episode of Friends or The Big Bang Theory!

Then you’re wheeled into the recovery room, where you’ll wake up shortly after your retrieval is done. You’ll probably feel a bit groggy and disoriented, or maybe even a little nauseated. This is all normal! A nurse will come to check in on you and, when you’re ready, give you something small to eat and drink, and painkillers if you need any. They will also check your blood pressure a few times. When they’re happy that you’re recovered enough to leave, it’s time to head home. Depending on the clinic, you might receive your donor compensation after your retrieval.

You must have someone there to fetch you. You’re legally not allowed to drive yourself home – even though you might ‘feel fine’. And no, your Uber driver doesn’t count!

When you get home, it’s time to take it easy. It’s time for you to nap, to snack, to bond with Netflix or that pile of movies you’ve been saving. This is the perfect excuse for a real day off!

You might experience some spotting and some cramping after the retrieval (again, totally normal, and hot water bottles and pads are great to have on hand), but give the clinic a call if you experience any ‘scary’ or unusual pain or bleeding. Don’t be a hero!

You should be fine to return to work or classes the day after your retrieval, but every woman is different, so listen to your body. If you don’t feel up to it, rather take another day off and rest. Be kind to yourself – you have just done an incredible thing, you can afford to put your feet up!

If you have any further questions, give us a shout! One of our fabulous Nurture gals will be on hand to answer any and all questions, or just to chat.