Vienna In Vitro Center, Sofia, Bulgaria > We can help > In vitro fertilization (IVF) > The ovum pick-up

The pick-up procedure


Usually one egg cell develops in each follicle. Due to the growth of the follicle, the egg cell matures and is prepared for fertilization.
If the stimulation leads to the development of sufficient and suitably sized follicles, the day of the so called "follicle puncture" can be defined. This procedure can occur under light anaesthesia. Normally, a sedation analgesia is conducted in order to avoid pain.

Under ultrasound guidance, the edge of a cannula is pushed through the septum directly into the follicles. During this operation, not the follicle itself is extracted from the body, but the fluid content of the follicle. Using this liquid the egg cell is rinsed into a specially preheated tube. In the laboratory, embryologists locate the egg cell within this liquid. At this point in time the egg cells are covered in a secure cell cluster, the so-called „Cumulus".

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Is the collection of egg cells (=puncture) painful and how long does it take?

Puncturing of the septum and the subsequent subtraction of  liquid can indeed be a painful act. Hence, we administer a substance against pain and inject strong sleep medications. This pain elimination method is called “sedation analgesia” and is offered to our patients at no additional cost. In special cases it is necessary, for an anaesthesiologist to perform a light anaesthesia which is also conducted via intravenous injection of medication. A careful supervision by the anaesthesiologist during the operation is important. Any anaesthesia, whether it is general or locally applied, bears some risks and possible side effects. The duration of the puncture - depending on the amount of follicles to be punctured – usually lasts from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. Normally the patient leaves the Institute 1 to 2 hours after the procedure. If there is no possibility for the partner to accompany the patient back home we suggest a close companion (mother, sister, friend,...) instead.

Is it possible for the partner or other persons to be present during the egg cell collection?

It goes without saying that the partner or any other person can attend the procedure. Surely the patient feels more comfortable, if a familiar person stays with her. It is important to have someone accompany the patient if there is a language barrier. Please consider that only one additional person other than the patient is allowed in the operation room.
Some partners or other accompanying persons may have a hard time watching a medical procedure. Please let us know in good time if you might be affected. It is always possible to leave the procedure room.

What kind of complications can arise?

Naturally it is our highest concern to avoid any complications. Nevertheless, even the utmost care cannot always prevent injuries to inner organs (colon, blood vessels) - in reference to articles in medical journals this is 1 in 1000 punctures. If this happens, it might be necessary remedy these injuries by performing surgery. Sometimes, a surgical opening of the stomach is required in order to allow a treatment.
In rare cases, a hemorrhage from the septum occurs through the puncture with needles. It is usually sufficient to press a swab onto the affected spot for a couple of minutes to stop the bleeding. In rare cases, sutures can be necessary.

What else is important to know?

The patient needs to have an empty stomach, in other words no food or drinks – except water (important for taking medication) – 6 hours prior to the treatment. Furthermore, the patient may not drive a car, sign relevant documents, or perform complicated activities for the subsequent 24 hours. A temporary impairment caused by the medication is possible during this period.

How do patients feel after a puncture?

It takes about half an hour to return to a normal state after the sedation analgesia or light anaesthesia. As soon as the circulation is stabilized and the general condition is back to normal, the patient is allowed to leave the institute.  As already mentioned this usually takes place 1-2 hours after the treatment. If possible, the patient should not return to her job on this day, but can return to work the day after. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you experience intense pain or still have any unanswered questions.

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