Egg Retrieval Was a Pain in My Uterus

March 18, 2014   The retrieval was scheduled for 9am, so I had to be there half an hour earlier for prep.  It was another doctor who was doing the retrieval, but Dr. Yelian was right there beside me for, he said, “support”. I take it he had taken in another doctor to help out with the load and was just making sure the guy was up to par, though I don’t really know the real reason, but it didn’t bother me at all. Strength in numbers, right.

When the doc checked my follies with the ultrasound, it turned out there were three all stacked together or something or other, which was, in Dr. Yelian’s words, “unique”. He said he had never seen anything like it and asked for a screenshot of it while even one of the nurses exclaimed that it was “awesome”. I didn’t quite understand the significance of it all, but it was interesting.

The very first stick and suctioning of the ovary was only a tad uncomfortable. A little pinch, a little pressure. Not too bad. The second stick was progressively worse but so far, we had two eggs to work with. Then came the third follicle. The doc stopped and cautioned me that this particular little follie was lying deep within my reproductive caverns, so I braced myself. Dr. Yelian even asked if I wanted to stop, that we already had two eggs and that this third stick did not have to happen if I chose not to, but I gave the go ahead to proceed. Dammit if I was leaving any eggs behind, and definitely not after all the pounding my liver took for the endless meds I had to feed and inject into me. Well, big mistake, yeah. It was pretty brutal. Not only did the needle have to pierce my vaginal wall, it also had to penetrate my uterine wall just to get to that follicle. Need I say, ouch? I said more than that actually. Thank the Gods for the surgical mask I had on – I was mouthing every obscene and offensive word and phrase under the moon and the stars. To make matters worse, maneuvering to this follie was taking forever. It sounded like there was not much in there to begin with and ultimately they determined that it was empty. What?? Being a glass half full kinda gal, I was instantly grateful for the two eggs we already had but I couldn’t help but be bummed that nothing came out of the worst probing and prodding I’d gotten to date.

Doc Y came and talked to me after the retrieval  and said that I was tough, but it was no consolation for that empty follicle. I wish we had gotten something out of that particularly painful one. He decided on a FET instead of fresh, and hopefully we will make it to that stage again.



  1. I have had two egg retrievals done, both times with nothing but Advil preceding the procedure, and both times I had 9 follicles to retrieve. It is a weird sort of pain, not fun. I too had one ovary that was “deeply embedded” in my body. Not fun again, but tolerable. Be strong.

    • Thanks. 9 follicles each time?? I feel like a wimp. Yes, it’s tolerable and definitely not fun.

  2. Hi!
    First, I just want to say thank you for being open about your journey!

    Second, never give up hope. It took us 8 years for our son, and now we are on year 3 of trying for a sibling.

    I wanted to know if you got any kind of meds at all for your egg retrieval. Due to some circumstances, the only way I can do IVF is if I am not sedated during ET. They will give me the “forgetful med” that helps some with pain, but I will not be put under. Last IVF (several years ago) I was put under so I have no clue what to expect.

    Have you done any other procedures (IUI, HSG, etc) that you could compare the pain level to?

    • Thanks for your words of encouragement, Becca. To answer your question, I asked a nurse once about what we might be able to do to at least lessen the amount of discomfort for the egg retrievals and was told that there are three basic options available to us: oral/conscious sedation, local/topical sedation, and IV sedation. The oral is a cocktail of Valium and Norco (Vicodin), which is supposed to make you groggy or sleepy but you’re still aware of your surroundings and all that’s happening around you. The local sedation is (an injection, I take it?) that only blocks the sensation of when the needle pierces the vaginal wall. I was told by a nurse that it does nothing to stop the feeling of when the ovary is being suctioned out. I never asked about the IV sedation, as I wasn’t interested in going completely under.

      I have done several IUIs and felt no pain, just slight pressure when the sperm was being introduced into the cervix, and I have also done an HSG which, I guess, felt similar to an IUI – a little pressure and that was it. I honestly can’t think of anything to compare the pain to, as the only other medical procedures I’ve ever had to endure is your standard pap smear, blood tests, and mammograms.

      Are you doing conventional IVF, or natural/mini? I, personally, wouldn’t do a no-sedation retrieval if I had more than, say, 5 or more eggs to retrieve. But that’s just me. The lady recovering next to me after my last retrieval had 8 eggs retrieved and I don’t know if she had oral or local sedation or both, but she definitely wasn’t put completely under for it. I thought my level of pain tolerance was up there on the scale, but after hearing that, I felt like a wimp!

      The piercing of the vaginal wall isn’t so bad – it feels like a needle stick for a blood draw. The number of viable follicles present is generally the number of times the needle will have to go through, more or less. For me, it was the suctioning of the ovaries that I didn’t like. It was more “uncomfortable” than anything else, not painful. Each ovary seemed to empty out at an excruciatingly slow pace, but that was just all in my head. The entire procedure is relatively quick, and it’s over and done with before you know it. So don’t worry, you’ll do fine. Women are strong. The anticipation of it all is truly the worst, I believe. Congrats on your son after 8 years, and good luck on your second. :) Take care!

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