What you need to know about egg retrieval for egg freezing
Egg retrieval for egg freezing can be an emotional journey that starts when a woman decides to save her eggs for future use and ends on retrieval day with our San Antonio egg freezing specialists. Sometimes, a cancer diagnosis prompts this decision. Other times, it’s the desire to freeze younger eggs to stop the biological clock from ticking too fast. No matter the reason, the process is the same. If you’re considering egg cryopreservation, arm yourself with the facts.
Preparing for egg retrieval for egg freezing
At Texas Fertility Center, our San Antonio egg freezing specialists meet with patients to go over their medical history, explain the process of egg retrieval for egg freezing and answer any questions. Then, it’s time to start preparing the eggs.
- Transvaginal ultrasound and blood work. The woman undergoes a transvaginal ultrasound and blood draw on the third day of her menstrual cycle to check her hormone levels and assess her ovaries. These baseline data help the fertility specialist develop a plan for ovarian stimulation.
- Birth control pills. Sometimes, our egg freezing specialists will recommend birth control pills for two to four weeks before starting stimulation to help regulate an irregular menstrual cycle and improve the ultimate response to fertility medications.
- Daily injections of medications for ovarian stimulation. Once stimulation begins, the woman gives herself daily injections of hormones designed to make her eggs grow. During this process, she will return to the office regularly for ultrasounds and blood work to see how her ovaries are responding to treatment.
- Trigger shot. In response to these injections, the follicles (fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries that house the eggs) grow. Once the follicles are mature, the woman receives a trigger shot of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) around 36 hours before the egg retrieval procedure.
Egg retrieval day
Egg retrieval for egg freezing is a minor surgical procedure that lasts 15-30 minutes. The woman receives light sedation, so she doesn’t feel any pain. One of our San Antonio egg freezing specialists retrieves the eggs using ultrasound guidance. The physician inserts a thin needle through the vaginal wall. As the needle penetrates each follicle, the physician aspirates the fluid and egg into tubes for collection. Not every follicle contains an egg. As a result, the number of eggs retrieved may differ from the number of follicles seen on ultrasound.
After egg retrieval for egg freezing is complete, the patient goes to the recovery room for about an hour. During this time, the staff closely monitors her until discharge. Any minor pain or discomfort usually goes away within a day or so and can usually be managed with Tylenol.
An embryologist examines the eggs and freezes the mature eggs because they have a better chance of being fertilized in the future. After egg cryopreservation, the embryologist ships them to a state-of-the-art long term storage facility for later use.
When it comes to making decisions about their future fertility, women can trust the caring, knowledgeable professionals at Texas Fertility Center.
Contact us for more information about San Antonio egg freezing or to schedule a consultation.