- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
Egg Retrieval Process
ER for gestational surrogacy
The IM (Intended Mother) will be given drugs to produce multiple follicles. She will be monitored very closely by the RE (reproductive endocrinologist). The drugs taken are mainly daily shots. This goes on for a week or two. Once the follicles reach a certain size the IM will go to the Dr. to have a minor surgery to remove the eggs inside the follicles. Not all follicles will contain an egg. Not all of the eggs retrieved will be mature. Some of the mature eggs may not fertilize. Some of the fertilized eggs may not grow. Some of the embryos may not make it to day three to transfer. There is a pattern here. With each step the odds are you will lose a little. The goal is to have two to three good quality embryos to transfer to the GS (gestational surrogate). If you have more than three embryos the embryologist may freeze the extra at day three or let them grow to day five. There is a chance they will not make it to day five or even survive the thaw if frozen. But a good embryologist knows what he is doing so don’t worry! What is meant to be will be.
The IM (or egg donor) will be sedated so she will not be awake, but not completely under, just a twilight sedation. The Dr. will take a vaginal ultrasound wand and a hollow needle to aspirate the follicles, which mean take the eggs out of the ovaries. This process only takes about 30 minutes. There will be a little cramping and may feel tender in her abdomen afterwards. Also, slight spotting may occur. After an hour or so she is released to go home and take it easy the following days. As with any surgery, there are risks to be aware of. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is another risk associated with ER.
After the egg retrieval, the embryologist will place the eggs and sperm in a dish to fertilize. Sometimes ICSI may be needed. ICSI (intracytoplamic sperm injection) is only used if the embryologist sees there is a problem with natural fertilization. Maybe the outer shell of the egg is too hard for the sperm to penetrate. Whatever the reason may be, the Dr. can inject one sperm into the egg to see if fertilization will take place. After one day the embryologist will update you on the fertilization results. He will continue to update daily on the progress of your embryos. When they reach day three the embryologist will evaluate the quality and quantity and your Dr. will let you know when the embryo transfer will be.