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Birla Fertility & IVF
Birla Fertility & IVF

Understanding Ovum Pick-Up

  • Published on August 12, 2022
Understanding Ovum Pick-Up

Embarking on the IVF path is a blend of excitement and emotional challenges for couples on their journey to conception. A pivotal stage in this journey is the ovum pick-up procedure, where eggs are retrieved for the fertilization process. Let’s understand the details about the ovum pick procedure in this article and learn how you can prepare yourself before undergoing fertility treatment.

What is the Ovum pick-up procedure?

The ovum, also known as an egg cell, is produced in the ovaries during ovulation and is capable of being fertilized by sperm to initiate pregnancy. The ovum pick-up procedure is one of the key steps of IVF treatment, where eggs or oocytes are retrieved and fertilized outside the body.

Ovum pick-up is a day-care procedure in which the eggs are retrieved from the ovarian follicles with the help of a thin needle. It is a minimally invasive procedure that is not usually painful or complicated. This procedure is also suggested for women who want to opt for egg freezing or fertility preservation

How do you Prepare for the Ovum pick-up procedure? 

A few factors are involved in preparing before your ovum pick-up procedure:

  • Check-ups and tests:

Before proceeding with the ovum pick-up procedure and fertility treatment, you’ll likely need to undergo fertility tests and consult with your fertility specialist or OBGYN. Once you understand the process, your doctor may recommend specific tests to assess your overall health.

  • Hormone injections:

Leading up to the ovum pick-up procedure, you will receive hormone injections throughout your cycle. The final injection, known as the trigger shot, is administered just before the ovum pick-up procedure, typically about 36 hours beforehand.

  • Fasting:

If your procedure is scheduled for the morning, overnight fasting is necessary. Otherwise, you should fast for at least 6 hours without consuming liquids, with a minimum of 4 hours before the procedure. Also, you should avoid taking any medications unless necessary for chronic conditions like diabetes, heart conditions, or thyroid issues.

  • Monitoring of follicles:

During your treatment, your follicles will be monitored regularly to determine the optimal time for the ovum pick-up procedure. This procedure is timed just before ovulation to retrieve mature eggs before they are released

  • Trigger injection:

You’ll receive an hCG (also known as pregnancy hormone) hormone injection approximately 24-36 hours before the procedure. This final trigger injection prevents ovulation from occurring before the procedure takes place.

What happens on the day of the Ovum pick-up procedure?

What to expect during the ovum pick-up

First, you’ll receive anaesthesia to ensure you don’t feel discomfort during the procedure. This can be general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia.

Next, the gynaecologist or surgeon will perform the procedure, which typically lasts about 20 to 30 minutes, although it can be shorter depending on the number of eggs being retrieved and other individual factors.

During the procedure, a long, thin needle is guided by ultrasound through the vaginal opening to locate the ovaries and follicles. The needle is then used to gently retrieve the fluid from the follicles, which contain the eggs.

What happens after the Ovum Pick-up procedure?

The procedure is usually painless

After the ovum pick-up procedure, you’ll rest briefly until the anaesthesia wears off, and the venous catheter will be removed.

Avoid travelling long distances or driving yourself because the effects of the IV medications may take time to fully wear off. You can resume eating regular food after the ovum pick-up procedure.
Typically, there are no serious symptoms after the ovum pick-up procedure. However, you may experience mild side effects like light vaginal bleeding or spotting. If you do have symptoms, they may include:

  • Feeling thirsty or feeling dryness in the mouth
  • Pain, soreness, or heaviness in the pelvic area
  • In rare cases, there can be nausea

If you encounter severe symptoms such as intense lower abdominal pain, fainting, heavy vaginal bleeding, or fever, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention at the clinic.

Precautions after ovum pick-up procedure

A few precautions you can keep in mind after the ovum pick-up procedure:

  • Avoid driving yourself to work
  • Avoid doing any work on the day of the ovum pick-up
  • Avoid activities where you have to be in water such as a bath or swimming for some days
  • Avoid intercourse for several days until the vagina heals


he fertility treatment process like IVF assists in maturing and retrieving eggs at the appropriate time using one of the key steps, i.e., ovum pick-up procedure, which is then fertilized outside of the body. If you are planning for a personalized guidance and an effective fertility treatment, consult our specialist by calling us today or visits at our Fertility Centers.


1. What does ovum pick-up mean?

Ovum pick-up in IVF means retrieving the matured eggs or oocytes from the follicles in your ovaries. A needle is inserted into the follicles to pick up the follicular liquid containing the matured eggs.

2. How many eggs do you get at retrieval?

The number differs between different cases of egg retrieval. On average, about ten eggs may be retrieved from the follicles. However, keep in mind that not all the eggs retrieved will be mature. This also depends on the age and health of the woman.

3. Are you awake during egg retrieval?

You are under anaesthesia during the egg retrieval process, so you are not awake. You will not feel the procedure while it is happening.

4. How long does it take to recover from egg retrieval?

It can take several days for you to heal from the ovum pick-up procedure. You will have to follow certain precautions while the vagina heals. However, you should be able to go about your regular work a day or two after the procedure. The effects of the medications you are given for the procedure will wear out in a day.

Written by:
Dr. Shivika Gupta

Dr. Shivika Gupta

With over 5 years of experience, Dr. Shivika Gupta is a dedicated healthcare professional with a wealth of experience in the field of reproductive health. She has made significant contributions to medical research with multiple publications in reputable journals and is an expert in managing female infertility cases.
Gurgaon – Sector 14, Haryana

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