Interventions for women in the context of ART treatment


Procedures as part of IVF

The procedures discussed below, do not belong to IVF treatment as such, but they can occasionally arise from it.

Every IVF treatment begins with the stimulation phase - possibly following a period of suppression of the natural menstrual cycle - to stimulate the ovaries to produce a crop of ripe follicles. The stimulation ends with an injection of hCG hormone to induce ovulation.

In the period before the hCG injection, a number of ultrasound scans will be performed. This is to check for the formation of cysts in the ovaries. These cysts are functional and are produced through the natural function of the ovaries. Therefore there is no cause for concern if cysts are detected.
Only if the cysts produce hormones which could interfere with your treatment, will they have to be removed. This is decided by the Patient Monitoring department (DM).


Cysts are removed by puncturing them. It is very similar to egg retrieval: under ultrasound control, a fine needle is inserted through the vaginal wall to the ovaries, and into the cysts which are punctured one by one and the contents aspirated.

  • The DM arranges the appointment for the procedure.
  • You do not need to register at the Admission's desk, just go straight to the operating theatre in the CRG at the agreed time.
  • Child hospital UZ Brussel, Entrance F, route 976.
  • You may eat a light meal in the morning. 
  • It is a very quick and only mildly uncomfortable procedure. Depending on the number of cysts and the position, a local anaesthetic will sometimes be administered. Often the procedure can be performed without anaesthetic. 
  • Two hours after removing the cysts you can go home again. 
In about five percent of women who become pregnant through ART, the pregnancy fails to progress and the embryo has to be removed.
  • 'Removing' the embryo is done increasingly through medication (the so-called 'abortion pill').
  • Sometimes a decision is made to perform a curettage immediately.
    Curettage involves emptying the uterus through aspiration.
    • This is an outpatient procedure under local anaesthetic which is performed at the Operating theatre of the CRG.
    • Please report there directly at the agreed time.
    • In the rare cases that the curettage needs to be performed under general anaesthesia this involves a day admission.
  • For both treatments you only need to stay in the hospital a couple of hours.
  • Because you will probably suffer cramps in your lower abdomen afterward and it is best you do not drive, your partner should accompany you. And can provide emotional support at the same time.

Click here to download the form with instructions to prepare for a curettage.

Want to know more?

Does IVF reduce the risk of an ectopic pregnancy?

Sometimes a fertilised egg or an embryo does not implant in the uterus, but in one of the fallopian tubes or somewhere else in the abdominal cavity. This is known as an ectopic pregnancy.

In some cases an ectopic pregnancy is treated with medication. This is an outpatient procedure: You report to Ward 03, where you will be given an injection with a chemotherapeutic.

In other cases the embryo needs to be removed operatively, via a therapeutic laparoscopy. This procedure is performed under general anaesthetic, and involves a day admission.