Once a patient has decided to do IVF the infertility doctor will develop a treatment plan. This plan often uses a combination of oral contraceptives, and fertility hormones to stimulate the ovary to make multiple eggs. Once stimulation is started the fertility patient will present to the fertility doctor every few days for ultrasounds and blood tests. These tests help determine the dose of medication and the progress of the egg growth.

The fertility doctor will use the size of the follicles (eggs) and the blood hormones levels to determine when the eggs are ready to be removed.

When the fertility doctor feels it is time for retrieval, the patient will be injected with HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to stimulate the body into finalizing the maturation process of the egg to prepare it for the egg retrieval.


Egg retrievals are most often performed in the office in the egg retrieval room. This is a special room with special filtering systems, lights and supplies. The egg retrieval is performed under mild sedation. The egg retrieval procedure is painless due to this sedation, and many patients report it feels no different than a pap-smear. An ultrasound probe, and an attached needle, are inserted into the vagina and directed to the ovaries under ultrasound guidance.

As each follicle is found, the needle is used to carefully puncture it before a gentle suction is applied to collect the egg. A Colorado embryologist looks for the eggs from each of these follicle content samples for use in fertilization, often with a sperm sample that has been donated on the same day by the male partner.


Since the patient is often placed under anesthesia during the procedure, there is minimal pain occurring throughout the retrieval. Afterwards there may be cramping felt, similar to that of a menstrual cycle cramp, and this is often treated by administering pain medication.

Typically there will be a round of medications for the patient after the procedure in the form of an antibiotic, a steroid, and a hormonal supplement. These first two are to combat any possible infection or inflammation, and the hormonal supplement is to stimulate the endometrial tissue, preparing it for the embryo to implant. Taking these exactly as prescribed is paramount to good success.

After the eggs are fertilized the resultant embryos are then placed back in the uterus to achieve pregnancy.

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