The egg harvesting process, also known as follicular aspiration or follicular puncture, is a crucial step in the in vitro fertilization procedure (IVF), in which mature oocytes are extracted from ovarian follicles to be subsequently fertilized in the laboratory.
This minor surgery is performed in a clinic or hospital setting and is performed under the close supervision of a fertility specialist.
The patient is prepared for the intervention, being given a light anesthesia or sedation to ensure comfort and reduce any discomforts.
Vital signs are constantly monitored and the patient is positioned appropriately to allow easy access to the ovaries.
Inserting the aspiration needle
With the help of a transvaginal ultrasound, the doctor inserts a thin and flexible needle into the ovarian follicles, which are small cysts containing oocytes. These follicles are viewed and guided precisely to avoid other surrounding structures.
Through the suction needle, the mature oocytes are aspirated (extracted) from each follicle. This process is delicate and requires precise skills to collect oocytes without damaging them.
The collected oocytes are immediately transferred to a special culture medium in the laboratory. Here, they are prepared for fertilization by combining with the partner’s sperm or, in some cases, with donated sperm.
The retrieved oocytes are then examined under a microscope to assess their maturity and quality. Mature and healthy oocytes are selected to be fertilized in the IVF procedure.
After the operation, the patient is monitored to check her condition and to ensure that no complications have occured.
Usually, patients can leave the clinic the same day and return to normal activities within days.
The egg retrieval process is critical to the success of the IVF procedure and requires a careful and experienced approach to ensure optimal oocyte retrieval and improve the chances of obtaining healthy embryos.