PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR ASSISTED REPRODUCTION, STEP BY STEP
In a process of assisted reproduction, each step comes with its dose of strong emotions: bad news one day, good news the following day; joy and hope at times, followed by disappointment and despair. During each step, we need to fight to keep going forward, to keep believing in our dream.
During this fight, there is nothing more valuable than the advice of mothers who have overcome this same process, the experience of these tireless fighters who made their dream come true.
THE EGG COLLECTION
If you’re undergoing IVF treatment, now is one of the key moments: the very much longed for and feared moment of the egg collection. You’ll finally get to know if the stimulation worked well and how many “fertilisable” (mature) oocytes you have.
The egg collection is a simple outpatient surgery, usually performed under general sedation, during which the oocytes are collected under ultrasound control through the aspiration of the follicular liquid. The eggs are immediately handed over to the biologists to be fertilised.
Depending on the clinic, the intervention is usually programmed in the morning, and you’ll stay at the clinic for a total of 2 to 3 hours, after which you’ll have to go home and rest for the rest of the day.
The fact that it’s a surgery can make the egg collection quite stressful for some patients, with a mix of excitement and impatience (you’re getting so close to your objective!) with nervousness and fear (of the surgery, of the sedation, of the results also).
Don’t worry, it seems much more than what it actually is:
1/ it’s not a general anaesthesia, only a general sedation with local anaesthesia
2/ it’s a simple, not risky and quick procedure (less than 30 minutes!). It may hurt a little bit, but generally no more a strong menstruation pain.
OBJECTIVES DURING THIS PHASE:
1/ BE AS RELAXED AS POSSIBLE BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE EGG COLLECTION.
2/ REST AND SWITCH OFF DURING THE HOURS FOLLOWING THE INTERVENTION.
DON’T GO ALONE
Although it’s not technically necessary, it will be much easier for you if you are accompanied by someone. Choose the person you feel most comfortable with: your partner, your mother, your sister of your best friend… After the intervention, you’ll stay in the recovery room for a little while and then you’ll come back to your room where the person accompanying you will be waiting for you and where you’ll be able to recover and rest a little bit more. Having company in this very moment will be very helpful and reassuring.
This person will also be able to help you go home: you may feel some discomfort or dizziness from the anaesthesia, someone taking care of the “logistics” (call a taxi, go get the car, etc.) will be a precious help.
DO RELAXATION EXERCISES BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE EGG COLLECTION
The operating room can be impressive and it’s important that you can relax alone, with no help. That’s why we recommend that you practice relaxation exercises daily in the previous days and weeks: not only will it help you go through the process more serenely, but it will also enable you to relax easily and quickly in this precise moment.
The day of the egg collection, take some time to do a deep relaxation exercise before you leave home for the clinic. Repeat the same exercise, or a quicker respiration exercise, just before entering the operating room. Once in the operating room, before being sedated, keep a deep and regular respiration and focus on the air going in and out of your lungs.
You can keep doing relaxation exercises during the day if you feel the need to do it, even at home.
ORGANISE THE REST OF YOUR DAY AND MAKE SURE TO SPOIL YOURSELF
After the egg collection, you’ll be resting at home for the rest of the day. It may seem overwhelming, but look at the bright side: how often do you get to be alone during a whole day, with nothing else to do but spoil yourself? Enjoy it!
Try and organise everything beforehand: think about it in the previous days and have everything prepared. Choose a few good movies or a series, read a book or a few magazines, update your photo albums… everything is allowed if it’s pleasant, doesn’t require too much attention and concentration and makes the day go by more quickly.
Spoil yourself with a good lunch, your favourite dessert, good chocolate or anything you long for. Anticipate and prepare it the day before or, even better, ask the person accompanying you to do it for you!
Today’s objective is simple: no stress and no useless efforts. Since you must stay still, at least enjoy it and spoil yourself!
PUT INTO PERSPECTIVE THE NUMBER OF EGGS COLLECTED
Don’t consider this information as definitive, things can change between now and the embryo transfer.
Don’t worry too much if you don’t have as many eggs as you had hoped. Obviously, it’s more reassuring to have many eggs, but the number of eggs doesn’t determine the quality of the future embryos: you may have in the end one embryo of excellent quality, or many embryos of poorer quality.
If you think about it, you’ll only need one!