IVF in Barbados: Egg Retrieval Day (Science is awesome)

Whoooo hoooooo! We did it! We finally made it egg retrieval day. Egg retrieval is a surgical procedure done to remove the egg from a woman’s ovaries for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The procedure is done in a minimally invasive way and has a short recovery time.

3 Potential Risks Associated with Egg Retrieval | Assessing the Medical  Risks of Human Oocyte Donation for Stem Cell Research: Workshop Report |  The National Academies Press

When I got to the clinic at 7 in the morning, I had my blood drawn for my PRP treatment. Protein Rich Plasma (PRP) is done during ovarian rejuvenation. During ovarian rejuvenation PRP is directly injected into a patient’s ovaries with her own platelet-rich plasma (PRP), infusing the ovaries with proteins rich in growth factors and stem-cell chemoattractants. We opted for this treatment due to my poor response to the ovarian stim cycle. I have what is called diminished ovarian reserve which means I don’t have many eggs left in my ovaries for science to play with.

Evidence from in vitro studies shows that PRP supports the viability and growth of human early preantral follicles. Direct injection of PRP into the stroma of poor responder ovaries leads to an increase in the number of follicles and eggs retrieved. In short, we chose this treatment to help our odds at another cycle have a greater egg count. Of course, we are still hopeful that we won’t need a second cycle, but should we need one, we’ll have this as a sort of “safety net” so to speak. You can read more about PRP treatments here.

After my blood was drawn, we walked over to the laundry mat and did laundry so we could have some fresh clothes for the rest of the trip. At 9:30, we returned back to the clinic for my egg retrieval, which I have to admit was not the most pleasant day so far. I was supposed to be put under for the procedure, however, the anesthesia didn’t work and I was wide awake and alert the entire time. To say it was uncomfortable would be an understatement.

Once it was over, the team let me know that they were able to collect 4 eggs. I won’t know until tomorrow if they were mature and fertilized or not. Our eggs were fertilized using a method called ICSI, rather than traditional IVF. Here is my attempt at trying to explain this the best I can.

Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a modification of the in vitro fertilization (“Test-tube baby”) technique where the egg is fertilized outside the body by injecting the sperm directly into it. The embryo(s) are then introduced back into the woman’s uterus in the same way as for IVF. You can read more on ICSI here.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is one of the most common procedures for infertility. IVF when translated means fertilization “in glass” and refers to the process where a woman’s eggs are fertilized with male sperm outside of her body in a laboratory to produce embryos. IVF is an option for many couples who struggle to conceive naturally. Once these embryos are created they are transferred to the woman’s uterus after 3 to 5 days and it is here that nature takes over for the embryo/s to implant and progress to a successful pregnancy. You can read more on IVF here.

So what’s the difference between ICSI and IVF?

The main difference is in how the egg is fertilized. With IVF, the egg is there for many sperm to fight over and the winner takes the egg. No pun intended. With ICSI, the embryologist selects 1 single sperm per egg and injects the sperm into the egg for fertilization. It’s much more controlled and is better for those with male factor fertility issues, which we have as well.

I did my best. If you guys have any questions at all, I’d love to spread awareness on this topic, so please ask them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my ability.

For now, I’m exhausted. It’s been a rough day and I think I need a nap.

I’ll be in touch soon when we find out what happens with those 4 eggs they collected.

Much love and hugs and stuff,


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