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How are Eggs Harvested for IVF?

People struggle every day with fertility difficulties. For some couples, medical support is necessary to ensure a healthy conception, pregnancy, and birth outcome. Today’s fertility medicine offers multiple avenues for people looking to become pregnant, including in vitro fertilization (IVF). Safely and effectively practiced for decades, this procedure uses your own eggs to produce a pregnancy.

At the New York Fertility Institute, we regularly support patients undergoing IVF, from the egg extraction stage all the way through to a healthy pregnancy. Here’s what our care team thinks you should know about the process and potential of egg harvesting for IVF.

Stimulating your natural egg production

With IVF, we use your own eggs to start your pregnancy. You take synthetic hormone medications that stimulate your ovaries, ensuring that you’ll produce plenty of eggs that cycle. Women only usually produce a single egg every month, but we use these medications to maximize your chances of a positive outcome as a result of each attempt.

You may need several types of hormone medication for a successful cycle. Some of the medications we use include:

After about 8-14 days, your follicles will be prepared for the egg retrieval procedure. Before we harvest your eggs, we prescribe human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) or other medications to help your eggs fully mature. If needed, we can additionally recommend a progesterone supplement before your embryo transfer, to support your uterine lining development and encourage strong implantation.

Comprehensive and respectful support

We use several types of tests to monitor your response to ovarian stimulation and determine when the best time for egg harvesting has arrived. We may need to perform a vaginal ultrasound, in addition to blood tests to check on your hormone levels.

About a day and a half after your final injection of stimulant hormones, it will be time to harvest your eggs. When you come into the office for the procedure, we begin by inserting an ultrasound probe transvaginally to precisely locate your follicles. Then, we use a thin needle inside an ultrasound guide to enter through your vagina. The needle goes through your follicles to retrieve your eggs. A suction device pulls each egg up from the needle.

Your eggs go right into a nutritive liquid to support them during incubation. You may have some feelings of cramping, internal pressure, or fullness. Harvesting your eggs can take less than 30 minutes, and provide you with multiple chances for a successful embryo.

The IVF process can take some time. You’ll need at least a few weeks of stimulating medications before your retrieval procedure, and you may need multiple cycles to see a successful, mature pregnancy — although some patients find that IVF works for them right away. No matter what, the team at New York Fertility Institute is here to support you through the whole process. To schedule a consultation with a member of our team to discuss what IVF could do for your family planning, call our office in New York City's Upper East Side today, or use the online tool at your convenience.

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