IVF Questions & Answers

How long does an egg retrieval take?

Egg retrieval takes just a few minutes, usually five to ten, depending on how many follicles are present.

Is the egg retrieval painful?

No, since the retrieval is done under anesthesia.  Our anesthesia specialists use medications which heavily sedate you. You will be completely unaware, however you will not require a breathing tube. The beauty of this approach is that you will feel absolutely nothing, remember absolutely nothing, and will have few of or none of the typical side effects of full anesthesia such as nausea and vomiting.

Will the egg retrieval damage my ovaries?

No it won’t.  Many women have undergone multiple egg retrievals, and yet their ovaries responded to stimulation the same way on repeated treatments, with just as many eggs and pregnancies on these occasions.  This implies that the ovaries are unaffected by stimulation and egg retrieval.

Is bleeding expected after the egg retrieval?

Light spotting is common after an egg retrieval. Usually this bleeding is from the needle puncture sites in the vaginal wall. It is usually minor and less than a period or less.

Is it normal to retrieve an egg from every follicle?

Not necessarily. Although we will usually get an egg from most large follicles (over 15 mm after stimulation), smaller follicles only occasionally yield mature eggs.  Most women will have follicles of different sizes after ovulation induction, some of which contain immature eggs or post mature eggs, or no eggs at all.

Is the embryo transfer painful?

No, it is similar to intrauterine insemination (IUI). Usually the woman feels only the speculum and nothing else.

Is bed rest recommended after the embryo transfer?

We recommend that you take it easy following transfer for the rest of the day, but routine work activities can be resumed the next day. If there is an increased risk of ovarian hyperstimulation, we will recommend reducing activity for a few days until the hyperstimulation resolves.

Is assisted hatching performed on all embryos?

Typically yes. This is to overcome any “hardness” of the shell surrounding the embryo.  There are good data showing that in some groups (e.g. women over 38 years of age, previous failed IVF cycles, unusually thick zonae pellucida) assisted hatching will increase the implantation and pregnancy rates. There has only been one study carried out looking at the impact of performing assisted hatching on every single embryo of all couples and the conclusion was that it did not increase the expected pregnancy rates.

What is done with any "leftover" embryos?

Embryos which are not transferred in the retrieval cycle are maintained in culture to determine if they develop to the blastocyst stage. If they do, they will be cryopreserved, if that is your wish.

How soon after IVF can a pregnancy test be performed?

We schedule a pregnancy test 10 days after embryo transfer.

How long of a wait is recommended between a failed IVF cycle and trying again?

We recommend waiting one full menstrual cycle before undergoing another IVF stimulation. We know that it can take up to 6 weeks for inflammation to resolve; therefore, it is reasonable to wait a similar amount of time before restarting the process.