How to prepare for EGG RETRIEVAL – Pro Tips for How to Have the Best Egg Retrieval Experience
Going in for an egg retrieval during an IVF process can be a bit scary and make us nervous for so many reasons, one of which is because it really feels like a medical procedure. But that’s because it actually is a medical procedure, so we do need to take it seriously. In this video, I’m going to talk about my tips to have the best egg retrieval experience. Keep watching to learn more about it.
My name is Dr. Marc Sklar, also known as The Fertility Expert, and I’ve been working with couples for over 19 years through my online coaching programs and right here in San Diego at my clinic. This topic of egg retrieval, going through a healthy and safe egg retrieval process and getting the best results is something that we talk about all the time, because about 50% of the couples that we support in our coaching programs and in our clinics are going through IVF. That’s why this video is so important because I know at least 50% of you watching need these tips. Let’s get into it. Before I jump into the actual tips for a successful egg retrieval process, I do want to let you all know that I do have a free resource for all of you.
It’s my free Fertility Guide. A lot of the things in there you can actually utilize during an egg retrieval process. If you want this free resource, all you have to do is use the link in the description below to download it. Before we can start talking about the tips, we do need to understand a little bit about an egg retrieval process. I know there’s many of you watching who don’t understand it. This can be helpful just to give you some understanding for what the process is like, and then we can get into the tip. The first thing is, why do we even need an egg retrieval? Well, if you are going through IVF, in vitro fertilization, what’s going to happen is that they’re going to stimulate your ovaries to increase and produce those follicles, which have the eggs inside that we want to take out.
It takes a little bit of time to stimulate the follicles to grow to a mature size so that you can actually get to a place where you can retrieve those eggs. Hence, the topic of this video, the egg retrieval. That is the process. You’re going to be given medication. They’re going to stimulate your ovaries with those medications. I’m not going to get into that process in this video, but we have discussed it in other videos. We’re going to watch those grow. Typically that range, the size of the follicle that you want to see can vary from clinic to clinic and physician to physician, depending on what they want and what they’re trying to achieve. But typically on the low end, we want to see it about 16 millimeters, and on the high end, let’s just say 22.
There might be some clinics that like to retrieve them a little earlier or a little smaller, and some that like to retrieve them a little bit larger. But in general, that’s what you’re looking for in terms of a sweet spot. The other thing is you want to see as many of those follicles be around the same size growing together so that you can get as many of those as you can. Once those follicles are at the right size, then your clinic is going to schedule the egg retrieval. And that’s typically scheduled two or three days out. What they’re going to tell you to do is take a trigger shot, which is a medication to help ripen those follicles and make it easier to retrieve those eggs. Now, we don’t want those eggs to be released because that means that they’re ovulated out and then we can’t catch them.
We want to catch them right before, or your clinic wants to catch them right before. Timing of the retrieval is crucial and they’re going to tell you exactly when they want you to take the medication and when exactly they want you to be in their office for the retrieval, because everything is timed perfectly to get those eggs before they are released and ovulated. Now, it doesn’t always happen, but most of the time it does happen appropriately. Those eggs that we’re trying to get on the retrieval are inside the follicles. Typically, when we are talking about follicles, we’re also talking about eggs, or eggs, we’re also talking about follicles, but there are some exceptions where you might see a follicle.
You go into retrieve that egg and they can’t find the egg or it’s an empty follicle. That does happen. But we’re going to go under the premise that all the follicles have the eggs inside. They’re going to go in and aspirate with a needle that follicle and retrieve or take out all the fluid and hopefully that egg at the same time. And that’s what is happening during an egg retrieval process. In terms of what to expect, you’re going to go in that day or typically that morning and you’re going to go into the clinic and they’re going to put you into the procedure room or operating room. Now, typically you’re put under, so that you’re asleep when this is happening. There are some exceptions to this.
There are some clinics who do typically what’s called low stimulation or mini IVF, who are very comfortable retrieving without anesthesia or putting you under, making you go to sleep. That’s only typically if you have very few numbers of follicles or eggs. If you’re having many, then it’s probably what’s going to happen is that you’re going to be put to sleep. And then they’re going to want to look at the ovaries. You’re going to do a pelvic ultrasound while you’re asleep, so they can see all the follicles in your ovaries. At the same time, they’re going to go in with a needle through the vagina, through the wall, into the ovary and into each follicle to take out the fluid and the egg.
And then there’s also going to be an embryologist nearby who’s going to be sifting through and searching through that fluid to make sure they get all the eggs, counting them, documenting them, and storing them, getting them ready for fertilization. Once those eggs are retrieved and they’ve got them in the embryology lab, then your partner or husband would have already given a sperm sample, whether that was frozen or fresh that morning. And then they’re going to use that sperm to fertilize those eggs. The first thing that’s going to happen in the recovery room is they’re going to let you know how many eggs they were able to retrieve from those follicles and if they were mature or not.
Now, sometimes if they’re immature, they will leave them in the lab to mature usually for hours or even 24 hours, depending on the size and the maturity that needs to happen in those. And often those will mature and be able to be fertilized. And then you will get update calls on days one, three, and five post retrieval to let you know how many were actually fertilized and how they are growing and dividing so that you have an update to know where they all stand. And in the end, how many embryos you have to work with. That is the retrieval process. That is from beginning to end, that’s essentially in summary what will happen, what you can expect, and the information you can expect to be given and have to give to them during that process.
Now, let’s get into some tips to make this process a successful one and hopefully an easy one for you. In terms of preparing for an IVF cycle, my number one tip is utilizing acupuncture. Yes, acupuncture’s been shown in many research articles to help you have a successful IVF cycle, have a successful growth of those follicles, and have a successful process during retrieval. My recommendation is you start acupuncture and hopefully give them a little bit of time to make an impact. Typically, we’re looking for a minimum 11 to 12 visits before a retrieval process. Depending on how soon you start that, you may be able to spread that out once a week or even twice a week.
I just spoke to an IVF doctor yesterday and his recommendation is typically two times a week leading up to an IVF retrieval cycle. But also we want to do things before that. We want to prepare. We want at least a little bit of time to prepare your body physically, mentally, emotionally. We want to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, that your nutrition is on point. All the things that I normally talk about in most videos, those are the things that we want to make sure you are already doing. In addition to those things and in addition to the acupuncture, one of my favorite things is to make sure that the uterus stays warm. And in Chinese medicine, the way you do that is by keeping your feet warm.
Making sure that you’re always wearing socks, excuse me, that you’re not walking around barefoot on cold surfaces, and that we are also wrapping or keeping our low abdomen and low back nice and warm. Now, this process of the entire IVF process actually, but specifically the egg retrieval process, because this gives you and tells you how many eggs you’re going to have to work with, is or can be a very stressful and emotional process. I recommend that you also start to prep yourself emotionally and mentally to get through this process. I love meditation. I also love a mindfulness practice. And specifically, I think all of you should check out the Fertilemind App as a result of this.
We all need a little bit of support, and most of us don’t know what we’re doing with mindfulness practices or meditation. We always need something to lean on. This app, the Fertilemind App, can be very supportive and is directly focused on fertility. They have many different meditations and mindfulness processes to help you get through the egg retrieval process and the entire IVF process. For all of my followers, and only my followers, you do get a special 30 day trial. This is not something that everybody gets. It’s only for all of you following me, but you do need a code for that app to get that 30 day trial. The code you can use to do that in all capitals is THEFERTILITYEXPERT all together.
No spaces in there. We’re going to put that information in the description as well, and the link to the Fertilemind App. Those are some things you can be doing in preparation for the egg retrieval, but the egg retrieval process doesn’t just stop there. It continues afterwards because you want to make sure you recover properly. Remember I started off by saying, this is actually a procedure that’s done in an operating room, right? We want to make sure you recover properly from that and that you’re not in too much discomfort or pain or too much bleeding afterwards, or hopefully none of those things. That’s why these tips that I’m about to give you are also so important.
Number one on that list is hydration. Not just hydration afterwards, but hydration before, during, and after. We want to make sure that you are properly hydrated, that your body can recover properly. One of the ways that is because you are going to the bathroom regularly and your urine is clear. But it’s not just about drinking water. We want to make sure that water is full of electrolytes. Some of us are able to do that at home with some of the filters that we have. Others of you might need to be adding in some liquid trace minerals, which you can find online or at the health food store to your water. Some of it just might buy electrolyte filled water from the store as well. Whatever your preference is, I do want it to be low in sugar, but high in the minerals and electrolytes.
That is the first tip that you should be doing after a retrieval. We also want to make sure that you are getting the proper nutrition that you need, right? We want to make sure that your body is able to recover. We want to also make sure that those foods are easy to digest. Don’t get a lot of greasy food, a lot of hamburger and pizza. We don’t want that. We want simple, easy to digest foods with a lot of nutrition, so a lot of vegetables. My favorite thing here is going to be soups, because they’re packed full of nutrition if they’re made right. They are also… One of my favorite ways to make them is with bone broth, which is also packed full of nutrition and electrolytes and minerals.
They’re also warm and easy to digest. I love to have this, but I want you to pre-make it so it’s not difficult after the retrieval. You could just go home and reheat it and have a nice bowl of warm soup. Tip number three is just plan not to do much, plan to go home, relax, take it easy, read a good book, watch a good movie, rest, and sleep. You should be good to go the next day. Most women are able to go back to work the next day. There is a small population that aren’t because maybe they had too many eggs retrieved and they’re still uncomfortable and sore. But for most of you, you should be fine and only need one day to recover.
Now, one thing that is also very common during an egg retrieval, because they’re giving you all the anesthesia and medication, is that you might be constipated. You might need a little extra support to go to the bathroom, so you don’t feel bloated and backed up, but that you’re able to go regularly and not strain. Magnesium is a wonderful way to do this. It’s a natural stool softener. Actually, many of us are deficient in magnesium and could use a little extra anyway. That is something that I absolutely recommend you check out as well. Those are my favorite tips after a retrieval.
Those are things that you want to have planned for so that you have all those things at home and you’re not scrambling afterwards to make that easier on you and your partner so the whole experience is smooth and easy, and that you can get back to normal living afterwards as quickly as possible. But one of, if not the most important thing that you can do to have a successful IVF cycle and egg retrieval process is prepare. Typically, we want at least three months to prepare you to get the best results possible. And that is something that I coach my couples in in my HOPE Fertility Coaching Program.
If you want more information about how to join that program and how to have me as your personal coach to make sure that you have a successful IVF and retrieval cycle, then just use the link in the description below. Now, tell me what you liked about this video. I want to hear from all of you. Comment below and let me know. Was this information new for you, or did you already know it? And were the tips I gave you useful for you, or do you think they’re going to be useful for you in the future? And let me know which one you think was the best for you as an individual. Comment below and let me know. All right, everyone. If you liked this video, give me a thumbs up.
If you’re not already a subscriber to my YouTube channel, then hit that bell to subscribe and get notified when I put out a new video for all of you. Additionally, did you find this video interesting? Do you want more videos like this on similar topics? Comment and let me know. All right, everyone, until the next video, stay fertile.