Egg Retrieval & Sperm Collection

Egg Retrieval

The Egg Retrieval procedure is a significant step in the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process. This procedure involves the collection of eggs from the ovaries for fertilization in a laboratory. It typically occurs after ovarian stimulation, once the eggs have matured.

Process of Egg Retrieval:

  1. Preparation: Before the procedure, you will be given specific instructions, which often include fasting for a short period.
  2. Sedation or Anesthesia: Egg retrieval is generally performed under mild sedation or anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free during the procedure.
  3. Ultrasound Guidance: The doctor uses transvaginal ultrasound to visualize the ovaries and follicles. An ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina, and the follicles (fluid-filled sacs containing the eggs) are located.
  4. Needle Aspiration: A thin needle is attached to the ultrasound probe and guided through the vaginal wall into the ovaries. The needle gently aspirates the fluid and eggs from each follicle. This process is repeated for each mature follicle.
  5. Egg Identification: The retrieved fluid is handed over to embryologists in a laboratory, who identify and prepare the eggs for fertilization.
  6. Recovery: After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area to rest as the effects of sedation wear off. This usually takes a few hours.
  7. Post-Procedure Care: You may experience cramping, bloating, or spotting after the procedure. These symptoms are generally mild and short-lived. You will be given instructions for care post-retrieval and typically can go home the same day.

Key Considerations:

  • Duration: The egg retrieval procedure usually takes about 20-30 minutes.
  • Risks: While generally safe, risks include bleeding, infection, or damage to the surrounding structures like the bowel, bladder, or blood vessels. However, such complications are rare.
  • Success Rate: The number of eggs retrieved varies greatly among individuals. Not all retrieved eggs will be viable for fertilization.

Sperm Collection

Sperm Collection is a vital step in the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process, typically coinciding with or occurring shortly before the egg retrieval phase. This step involves obtaining a sperm sample for fertilization of the retrieved eggs.

Process of Sperm Collection:

  1. Method of Collection: The most common method for collecting a sperm sample is through masturbation, usually done in a private room at the clinic. The sample is then collected in a sterile container. For men who have difficulty producing a sample this way, alternative methods such as testicular aspiration or electroejaculation may be used, especially in cases of severe male infertility or ejaculatory issues.
  2. Timing: Sperm collection usually occurs on the same day as the woman’s egg retrieval. Fresh sperm is preferred for fertilization, but frozen sperm can also be used if necessary.
  3. Analysis and Preparation: Once collected, the sperm sample is analyzed in a laboratory. The analysis includes assessing sperm count, motility (movement), and morphology (shape). The healthiest and most mobile sperm are then selected for fertilization. This process is known as sperm washing, which also removes chemicals from the semen that may hinder fertilization or cause reactions in the uterus.

Key Considerations:

  • Abstinence Period: Men are typically advised to abstain from ejaculation for 2-5 days before the collection to maximize the quantity and quality of the sperm.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Factors like diet, smoking, alcohol, and stress levels can affect sperm quality. It’s often recommended that men adopt healthier lifestyles in the months leading up to IVF to improve sperm quality.
  • Use of Donor Sperm: In cases where the male partner cannot provide a viable sperm sample, or for single women and same-sex couples, donor sperm may be used.