The pick-up or egg collection
If in the run-up to the egg pick-up it appears that results of screening for Hepatitis B and C, HIV and syphilis infection either are absent or superseded, a blood sample will be taken from both woman and man to allow for infection tests. See preliminary blood test for the reasoning behind this.
Punctuality is essential
We have to be sure that we can perform the pick-up before ovulation. Furthermore, your punctuality also ensures that other peoples' pick-ups which are scheduled after yours, can also take place at the time which they are planned.
Due to practical and hygienic reasons, we do not allow partners into the operating theatre during pick up. Your partner is welcome to wait outside the theatre area, or in your room on the ward.
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The pick-up, images
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The DM determines the exact time of the pick-up.
- During the six hours preceding the procedure, you may not eat or drink anything.
- If using vaginal progesterone pessaries, (see in preparation for pregnancy), you must wait until after 4 pm on the day of the pick-up before inserting them.
- You have to report to ward VPE 03 two hours before the time of your pick-up. You do not need to register at the admissions desk, just go straight to the ward.
On the ward, you will be given a bed. After you have changed (we'll give you a theatre gown, a hat and a bracelet with your name on it), you will be given a premedication injection. The object of this is to relax you and it also contains a pain killer. All make up and nail polish must be removed, as well as contact lenses.
Shortly afterwards, you will be transported to the operating theatre holding area where you will be held for a short time, whilst a blood test is performed and a drip is placed in your arm or hand. The drip ensures that any problems which could occur during the pick-up (pain, nausea or feeling faint) can be dealt with swiftly, as well as ensuring a good fluid balance.
- A local anaesthetic is placed in the vaginal walls. Whilst this takes effect, the vagina is thoroughly disinfected and rinsed.
- The collection of the egg cells is performed under ultrasound guidance. As with all vaginal ultrasound scans, a probe is inserted into the vagina, with which an image of the ovaries is obtained. You will be able to follow the whole procedure on the screen.
- The gynaecologist inserts a fine, hollow needle via a guide on the probe through the vaginal wall, into the ovary. One by one, the follicles are punctured and the fluid inside them containing the egg cell aspirated into a test tube. It may be necessary to rinse the follicles, if the egg cell isn't obtained immediately. The fluid is examined in the lab and the egg cells removed from it.
- After the procedure, you will be collected and returned to your room to rest.
- After a while, the drip will be removed by the nurses and you will shortly be allowed home.
- Before you go, you will be informed as to how many egg cells were retrieved during the pick-up.
The local anaesthetic is given.
The vagina is disinfected.
The ripe follicles are punctured.
Meanwhile in the lab, the egg cells are retrieved from the follicle fluid and prepared for fertilization.
Is the pick-up painful? Due to the fact that you are given a local anaesthetic, the level of discomfort will generally be tolerable. Some ladies feel nothing at all, whilst others experience usually only mild levels of pain.
If you are dreading it, or if you've had a painful pick-up in the past, it is possible to arrange the procedure to take place under general anaesthetic. This will be in the form of a sedation, which just renders you lightly unconscious rather than inducing a deep sleep. This light sedation is not harmful to you or the egg cells.
It is essential that we are informed after one week of stimulation at the very latest if you would like a general anaesthetic. If your request comes too late, we will be unable to make the necessary arrangements for it.
Furthermore, a general anaesthetic will require an additional pre-operative blood test: see also Procedure regarding interventions under anaesthetic.
For a smooth sequence of events, it is important that you bring a number of things with you on the day of the pick-up.
You and your partners' white badges;
It is vitally important that you bring your reimbursement form from the mutuality with you. If we do not have this form on the day of pick-up, the full laboratory costs of the treatment will be billed to you.
- all signed documents and contracts pertaining to your treatment;
- if you were given free stimulation drugs and you have any left, please bring these back. Otherwise you do not need to bring surplus medication with you.
- if you are covered by the Belgian mutuality system, you must bring your reimbursement form.