After Egg Retrieval: Do's and Don'tsFertility Treatment
Egg retrieval, also called follicular puncture and egg collection, is the second step of the IVF procedure, through which eggs are retrieved from the ovaries. In the follicular puncture procedure, first, the ovaries are stimulated with ovulation induction drugs, and then, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is injected to make the follicles ready for retrieval.
Afterward, the eggs are removed by a needle connected to a probe. After examining the eggs in the laboratory, the high-quality eggs are fertilized with washed sperms through the IVF procedure.
Continue reading to get more information about what to do before and after egg retrieval.
Ovarian Stimulation before Egg Retrieval
One or two weeks before egg retrieval, the IVF specialist injects you with several ovulation inductions drugs to boost your egg production. These medications include:
- Drugs containing LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), or a combination of both;
- Medicine to prevent the development of immature and premature eggs; and
- Oocyte maturation medicines such as HCG are injected about 8 to 14 days after ovarian stimulation.
Preparing for Egg Retrieval
Before egg retrieval:
- Take blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HPV, and coagulation;
- Do not drink or eat from eight hours before the puncture process;
- Do not wear makeup, perfume, jewelry, and contact lenses;
- Avoid having NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and other blood thinners, fish oil, and vitamin E supplements from a couple of days before the operation;
- Take medications for blood pressure, thyroid, or heart diseases according to the previous routine;
- If you have diabetes, discuss it with your specialist in advance;
- Do not have sexual intercourse from two weeks before ovulation;
- Take a shower and shave your body hair the night before the operation;
- Avoid wearing tight clothes on the day of surgery;
- Arrive at the hospital one or two hours earlier to be admitted to the hospital and fill in the required forms; and
- Empty your bladder right before the operation and wear the gown and hat provided by your nurse.
It is noteworthy that before starting the operation, the specialist first examines the follicles with the help of ultrasound to make sure that ovulation is done and the size of the follicles is proper.
Egg Retrieval Procedure
Egg retrieval is not an invasive procedure; instead, it is usually done quickly and painlessly. This operation is performed about 34 to 36 hours (sometimes up to 37 hours) after the injection of HCG, and several eggs are removed within just a few minutes.
Some sedatives and anesthetics are injected to put the patient under light anesthesia to carry out the egg retrieval process. This way, the patient won’t have any pain, stress, or muscle contraction during the operation.
At the procedure beginning, the doctor identifies and locates the follicles with the help of a needle connected to an ultrasound probe. Then, the eggs are delicately separated from the follicles and removed from the body by a needle connected to a suctioning device. This device pierces the follicles and pulls the eggs and the follicular fluid (FF).
In the next step, the collected eggs are examined by an embryologist, and then they get fertilized with washed sperms through one of the assisted reproduction methods, IVF or ICSI. If the couple chooses IVF, doctors place the egg and sperm next to each other in the IVF dish to fertilize. If they choose ICSI treatment, healthy and motile sperm is directly injected into the center of the egg.
What to Eat before IVF Egg Retrieval?
Since when you take ovulation induction drugs, you may gain weight or experience nausea, constipation, or appetite changes, it is recommended that you have a balanced and nutrient diet before and after egg retrieval. In this regard, make sure that you add the following foods to your IVF diet before egg collection:
- Leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale;
- Fruits such as berries, pineapple, grapes, and kiwi;
- Dairy products;
- Nutritious seeds such as chia, pumpkin, and sunflower;
- Fish and its by-products;
- Foods rich in folic acid, selenium, zinc, antioxidants, etc.;
- Foods containing vitamins A, D, C, and E;
- Four to six glasses of water; and
- Healthy vegetable oils, especially olive oil.
Also, it is better to avoid having the following foods before and after egg retrieval:
- Inflammatory foods include sugar, refined carbohydrates, fried foods, processed foods, and red meat.
- Allergenic foods; and
- Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, coke, and tea.
We should note that sometimes women with higher BMI start losing weight before trying to get pregnant through IVF. However, by taking ovulation stimulation drugs, the weight loss process slows down, which is normal.
In the following, we introduce some foods that you can have days before the follicular puncture procedure:
- Egg sandwich + yogurt and dill + tomato + half an apple or banana
- Grilled chicken + potatoes + steamed vegetables + rose water and figs
- Homemade chicken sandwich + mint and yogurt + half an apple
- Pasta with chicken and vegetables + mint and yogurt + rose water and figs
Do’s and Don'ts after Egg Retrieval
Sometimes, the patients feel cramps or pressure in their stomachs after IVF egg retrieval. Therefore, it is better to lie down for 15 to 20 minutes after the procedure. Moreover, consider the following tips after egg collection:
- Have a complete rest for a couple of days;
- Take your medications just as prescribed by your doctor;
- Take anti-nausea medications if you are feeling sick;
- Take painkillers such as acetaminophen or diclofenac suppositories if you have stomachache or cramps;
- Take progesterone supplements in the form of injections, oral or vaginal suppositories to prepare the uterus for implantation;
- Take antibiotics to reduce inflammation of the genital organs and prevent infection;
- Avoid having sex for up to two weeks after the procedure;
- In case of having severe pain in the lower abdomen, abdominal swelling, or severe nausea, contact your doctor;
- Use metformin (Glomet) prescribed by your doctor if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome;
- Take aspirin and dopamine agonists under your doctor's supervision;
- Inject calcium if necessary;
- If the estrogen level in your body is higher than normal or the number of follicles has exceeded, stop taking injectable drugs; and
- Replace gonadotropin with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists such as Leuprorelin.
What to Eat after Egg Retrieval?
It would help if you had a nutrient and high sodium diet after egg retrieval to prevent ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and prepare your body for the next steps of IVF. Continue reading to get more info about what to eat after egg retrieval.
- Have three boiled egg whites with (or without) one yolk every day;
- Balance your intake of protein and carbohydrates;
- Eat food with a low glycemic index;
- Have food rich in fiber to help your bowel movement;
- Add essential fatty acids to your daily meals;
- Avoid having caffeine for at least 10 days;
- Have organic food and avoid canned food;
- Have three main meals and two snacks;
- Add more vegetable to your diet and have salad with olive oil;
- Avoid eating sweets as they increase your blood pressure;
- Have foods containing salt such as chips, curds, salty puffed snacks, etc. as their sodium prevents OHSS; and
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and fresh juice.
Does Egg Retrieval Affect Ovarian Reserve?
Usually, in each menstrual cycle, several ovarian follicles begin to mature, but only one is fully matured, and the rest are destroyed. Then, the egg in the mature follicle is released from the ovary during ovulation; aging and some health problems (such as cancer and endometriosis) reduce the ovarian reserve naturally.
The doctor prescribes ovulation induction drugs for egg retrieval to provide the basis for the growth of many follicles containing eggs. These medications cause more than one follicle to reach full maturity. Of course, this number of eggs is smaller than those in the ovaries. Therefore, egg retrieval does not cause a significant decrease in ovarian reserve.
Side Effects of Follicular Puncture
Since you have to take different hormone medicines to stimulate ovulation, you may face some complications after the follicular puncture, including:
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome with secondary complications such as dehydration, blood clots, kidney damage, etc.;
- Formation of ovarian cysts in less than 1% of cases that can be treated with surgery;
- Injection site reactions such as bruising and redness;
- The reaction of the body to the injected hormones and the body's inability to control their levels;
- Breasts' pain and tenderness;
- Pain in the ovaries;
- Leakage of ovarian fluid into the belly;
- Heart palpitation;
- Flushing and sweating;
- Vaginal bleeding and spotting;
- Infection, especially if the doctor is not experienced;
- Vaginal dryness;
- Damage to the blood vessels in rare cases; and
- Occurrence of some symptoms of menopause, such as menstrual irregularity for a short period.
After egg collection, especially in cases where the number of eggs collected from the ovaries is large, the ovaries get swollen, and the patient may feel severe pain in her ovaries. These side effects will disappear after the first menstrual cycle after egg retrieval, and the ovaries will return to their original state.
OHSS after Egg Retrieval
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a response to the increase of hormones in the body. OHSS usually causes the ovaries to swell and become painful after egg retrieval; that’s why the patient should get ovaries checkups frequently after egg collection.
Generally, ovarian hyperstimulation has mild or severe side effects, usually ten days after hormone injection. Symptoms of mild to moderate ovulation stimulation syndrome include:
- Fluctuating and mild pain in the abdomen;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Bloating and diarrhea; and
- Pain in the ovaries.
These symptoms of mild OHSS usually improve on their own after seven days, but in severe cases, the patient may require hospitalization and additional treatment. Symptoms of severe OHSS include:
- Severe pain in the abdomen;
- Tight and swollen stomach;
- Sudden weight gain such as 2-3 kg in one day or 4-5 kg in three days;
- Decrease in urination frequency;
- Dark urine;
- Chronic and severe nausea and vomiting;
- Shortness of breath; and
Period after Egg Retrieval
After egg retrieval, your body faces hormonal changes; as a result, your first or second period after egg retrieval may be missed or delayed, which is quite normal. In most cases, people have their first period 10 to 14 days after egg retrieval, but having the second period depends on when you will ovulate.
Spotting after Egg Retrieval
A needle and a suctioning device are vaginally inserted into the uterus during the egg retrieval procedure. So, it is common for patients to experience mild spotting or bleeding after egg retrieval. However, if spotting or cramping were severe and lasted more than a few days, contact your doctor.
Egg Freezing after Egg Retrieval
When the eggs are retrieved from the ovaries, one healthy egg is used in the IVF procedure, and the other high-quality eggs are frozen. 80% of the collected eggs are of high quality, mature, and suitable for freezing; therefore, they are immediately frozen in the laboratory within 24 hours to be used for future pregnancies.
In general, egg retrieval or follicular puncture is an outpatient operation in which one or more eggs are collected from the ovaries to be used in IVF treatment. Although egg retrieval is a simple procedure, it requires several technological devices and a skilled doctor who can minimize the side effects of this procedure with their expertise.
In Iran, hundreds of fertility clinics and IVF specialists offer the best healthcare services at a fair price. Contact the Raadina team to get more information about fertility treatments in Iran and to benefit from the affordable and wholesome packages of IVF treatment provided by this company.
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