Stephanie (patient, used with permission) was totally unprepared for how she was going to feel after her first egg collection procedure:
“OMG, the bloating, I thought that would go away after the eggs were taken out, but it was actually worse. That was the hardest part, both physically and emotionally because I looked like I was 20 weeks pregnant and I here I was, “infertile”. And I was totally short-tempered so that didn’t help.”
Her symptoms are fairly representative of most women after egg collection, and the reason I suggest booking an appointment 2 or 3 days after the procedure.
Egg collection 101: Medically known as Transvaginal oocyte retrieval (TVOR), egg pick up, egg retrieval or egg collection, are all the same thing; a hospital day procedure where a fertility specialist uses ultrasound to guide a needle via the vagina into each ovary to retrieve follicular fluid and an egg from each ripe follicle. Just think about that. That’s a modern miracle, right? Sorry - thats just my inner reproductive nerd. The surgery is done under anaesthetic and takes about half an hour. Most women retrieve between 8 and 15 eggs.
Even though the official hospital “recovery” period is 30 to 60 minutes, it really takes between 4 and 14 days to recover. The most common complaints I see, are;
Basically, egg collection can make you feel like a balloon with a hangover
Firstly, let’s consider the bloating. Physically, lots of follicles = large ovaries = swollen belly. A common preconception is that once the eggs are retrieved the bloating will go down. Unfortunately, no such luck. Once the eggs are removed the follicles actually fill with blood and go on to form the Corpus Luteum (which we’ll call The CL).
The CL is an incredible structure - it produces large amounts of progesterone which is a hormone super important in maintaining pregnancy, but also responsible for a bunch of symptoms - more bloating, nausea, fatigue, constipation, moodiness and headaches.
Local pain in the abdomen is also common, because, well someone went follicle fishing in your poor wee ovaries. There’s also not a heck of a lot of room in your pelvis for all this expansion and if you’re constipated there’s even more compression.
Patients love a post egg collection treatment. Its all about: