Egg Retrieval

Egg Retrieval: Harvesting the Oocytes

Once the eggs mature, Dr. James Douglas will collect them using an ultrasound-guided aspiration technique. During the procedure, Dr. Douglas places an ultrasound probe in the vagina while a tiny needle is passed through the wall of the vagina and into each ovarian follicle. The eggs are gently removed out through the needle. To keep patients comfortable, we perform this procedure in the Presbyterian of Plano hospital ARTS surgery suite with IV sedation and continuous monitoring by an anesthesiologist.


Dr. Douglas usually retrieves between eight and fifteen eggs per cycle; the recovered eggs are then examined in the Presbyterian ARTs laboratory. The retrieval procedure takes approximately 20-30 minutes with a recovery time of about one hour. Most patients will have mild to moderate discomfort, which over-the-counter or prescription pain medication can control, and you can plan to return to work the next morning. The only restriction is no strenuous activity for 24 hours.

After the egg retrieval, the embryologist will use a microscope to find the eggs in the follicular fluid and place them in droplets of a special culture medium. This culture medium provides all of the nutrients and other substances necessary to maximize the likelihood of successful fertilization of the eggs by the sperm. The culture dish containing the eggs is then placed in to the incubator for several hours to allow the egg the chance to continue the maturation process while technicians prepare the sperm sample.

oocyte (1)

Normal oocyte after retrieval