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Egg retrieval – Everything you need to know about follicular puncture

egg retrieval

Many women are concerned about what the egg retrieval, a very important point in their fertility treatment, will look like. It raises questions such as: Will I have swelling or pain? Will I feel any side effects? How should I prepare for the day of the procedure?

In this article, our team from IVF-Spain Madrid will answer all your questions to clear up doubts and fears about this very important stage, which is part of many different Assisted Reproduction treatments that we offer in our clinics.

What is a egg retrieval ?

Follicular puncture is a simple and quick outpatient operation that does not require hospitalisation. This procedure is performed to extract the eggs (oocytes) formed during ovulation, either when a patient begins her In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment, or in case of egg donors, that are in the process of making an egg donation. Follicular puncture is also performed in cases of Fertility Preservation , where the patient’s eggs are vitrified for later use.

Ovarian stimulation and measurement of ovarian reserve

Prior to the aspiration of the oocytes, an ovarian stimulation must be carried out to obtain as many oocytes as possible. Our fertility specialist will also determine the patient’s ovarian reserve, a very important factor in this phase.

During each menstrual cycle, a certain number of follicles grow in the ovaries. Only one follicle “survives” and eventually develops an egg. The other follicles do not grow and are lost in the process.

At IVF-Spain Madrid we perform the ovarian stimulation following personalized protocols, individualized for each patient, with the aim of obtaining an adequate number of embryos and thus increasing the chances of achieving pregnancy.

egg retrieval

During this period, which on average lasts between 10 and 20 days, our fertility experts will monitor the reaction of each patient to the prescribed medication via ultrasound examinations that are performed every two or three days. Each patient is unique and therefore each protocol must be adapted according to the ovarian response. Our doctors will check the follicles contained in each ovary from the beginning of the cycle until they reach a size of 17-19 mm in diameter. However, in some cases they may be between 16-22 mm.

When the follicle has reached the optimal size, the hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin, or hCG, is administered to induce ovulation within 32 to 36 hours. The follicular puncture will be programmed within this time interval, before ovulation occurs spontaneously.

Recommendations for prior to the egg retrieval

  1. Patients should fast, since a mild sedation will be administered. Eight hours before the operation the patient must not drink or eat.
  2. We recommend that patients should, as far as possible, avoid further stressful situations, such as traffic jams or late arrival. For this reason, we suggest everything to be ready the night before and to leave for the appointment with plenty of time.
  3. We suggest that our patients arrive to the clinic with their partner or another person, as they may feel dizzy or even disoriented. This is not usual, but for safety precautions, the patient should under no circumstances drive on their own after the procedure.
  4. Please do not wear jewellery, cosmetics, nail polish or perfume. It is important to keep the operating theatre sterile.
  5. Please follow the instructions on which medications to take before and after the puncture.

During each phase of the process, our IVF-Spain Madrid team provides each patient with the support necessary to relieve as much as possible the stress and nervousness that appears before a surgical procedure. We make sure that our patients have followed the instructions correctly, communicating throughout the process in each patient’s mother tongue, generating empathy and understanding.

The day of the egg retrieval– what should I expect?

The procedure is done under light sedation, to avoid the patient feeling any discomfort or pain. The estimated duration of the operation is usually between 20 and 30 minutes, varying depending on how many follicles the patient has.

Follicular aspiration is performed under the guidance of vaginal ultrasound. The eggs are retrieved together with the follicular liquid. Then our embryologists will be in charge of fertilizing the eggs in the laboratory.

The number of eggs obtained depends on the characteristics of each woman, her response to the treatment and possible medical conditions. Most commonly 6 to 9 eggs are obtained per cycle, but not all women respond equally to the treatment. In cases of low ovarian reserve, only 1 or 2 eggs can be obtained.

Is it necessary to rest after the follicular puncture?

Once the puncture is performed, the patient must wait until she recovers from the sedation. At IVF-Spain we have individual recovery rooms that are specifically equipped for this purpose. The recovery time may vary, as each patient needs a different amount of time to recover. Experts recommend resting the same day after leaving the clinic.

Within only a few hours you will be able to return to normal life but avoiding excessive physical exercise and heavy lifting.

Accompanying you during each stage of the treatment

Our job is to accompany our patients during every stage of their fertility treatment. We always remind them that follicular aspiration is a safe process and that the vast majority of women do not experience any problems.

Our medical team at IVF-Spain Madrid is made up of professionals with extensive experience and recognized prestige in the world of assisted reproduction. Our experts put all their know-how into offering treatments individualized to each patient, resolving your doubts, ensuring your well-being and helping you at all times to achieve your goal of becoming a mother. It is important for us to know your history, to design the most suitable treatment plan for you and to be by your side at every step of this unique experience.

Now that you know more about ovarian puncture and that we have clarified some of your doubts, you may still have questions. We invite you to receive an answer to your still outstanding questions by contacting our experts through this simple form

About the author


At ProcreaTec, we understand the road toward a healthy pregnancy is not always easy. Through this blog, we want to reach out to all who are struggling on the path of infertility to find support. If you have any questions or would like to tell us about your situation, you can comment on the posts or send us an e-mail.
If you would like to learn more about our clinic, we invite you to visit our website
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