FAQ: How are eggs grown and retrieved?

For the IVF process, multiple follicles (fluid collections within ovaries) containing eggs are grown to maturity with fertility medications which usually are injectable forms of follicle- stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Follicle growth is measured by serial transvaginal ultrasounds and blood tests to assess estradiol levels. When a solid cohort of follicles are of mature size, an injection of human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is given to induce final maturation of oocytes (eggs) 35 hours prior to oocyte retrieval. Oocyte retrieval is performed by ultrasound-guides needle aspiration of the follicles, is a procedure that requires intravenous anesthesia in the office setting, and usually takes 10-20 minutes to complete.