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I’ll be honest — prior to my first egg retrieval, I was a little bit nervous about the recovery process. Although everyone says it’s pretty manageable, you never know, especially when anesthesia is involved. At the time (this was in 2019), there weren’t a ton of online resources out there to help prepare myself, so I just trusted my fertility clinic and asked around. As a result, my expectations were only somewhat managed. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. The good news is, it went smoothly and I now have a beautiful son from this cycle.

After reading this article, your experience, hopefully, will be different. Consider this your guide to egg retrieval recovery: what to expect, how to prepare, and tips and tricks to make sure your recovery process is as smooth and quick as possible. 

Preparing for an egg retrieval

You’ve already navigated your insurance to afford it (or perhaps you froze your eggs for free with Cofertility); you’ve already started injecting yourself with hormones daily…in hindsight, to me, those were actually the hardest parts, compared to the egg retrieval itself. But when you’re in the thick of it, the thought of an egg retrieval itself can feel kind of scary. Especially if it will be the first time you are under sedation.

Not only might you have concerns about sedation, pain, or recovery, but you also might have some nerves about the finality of it all: how many eggs they’ll retrieve, how many of those will be mature, how many of those might eventually fertilize down the line should you need them…it’s easy to let your mind wander. I get it. I’ve been there, too. 

Turns out, my personal retrieval experiences (yes — I did it more than once) actually felt like the best naps I’ve ever had. Honestly, the hardest part was not eating beforehand. If you can help it, see if you can get a time slot as early as possible in the day. The good news is, the retrieval itself is relatively quick (like, 15 minutes quick — though it’ll feel like you slept way longer). Once the sedation wears off, your clinic will likely provide you with some snacks and drinks to get your energy going again. If you’d like to learn more about what an egg retrieval is actually like, we’ve got a whole guide for you. 

What to buy for egg retrieval recovery

All of that being said, if you’re a big planner like I am, you might want to know what to buy in advance to make sure your egg retrieval recovery goes smoothly. Since I want you to be your most prepared self heading into your retrieval, there are a few things I’d recommend purchasing beforehand, even if recovery only takes about a day or two.

Egg retrieval recovery essential #1: heating pad

Fuzzy fabric heating pad that's pink with white flowers

When recovering from an egg retrieval, a good heating pad is a must. You might experience some cramping, and gentle heat will help make you feel more comfortable. We love the cute daisy pattern on this one and you can control the heat levels manually. 

Egg retrieval recovery essential #2: comfy clothes 

Legs with gray sweatants

You probably already have your fair share of PJs, but why not give yourself an extra boost of post-retrieval joy with something new and super soft to lounge in while you get some rest? We love the lightweight jogger fit of these pants and they come in a ton of colors.  

Egg retrieval recovery essential #3: supplements and OTC medicines 

Natalist Fiber pill bottle

It’s a good idea to stock up on the following, just in case: 

  • Fiber or stool softeners: to help you go, since you may experience some constipation or sensitivity in that area (we love this one from Natalist)
  • Pain reliever (like Tylenol): for cramping
  • Stool softeners: to help you go, since you might be sensitive in that area
  • Anti-nausea meds (like antacids): since you might experience a bit of residual nausea afterwards

Egg retrieval recovery essential #4: water bottle

Purple Owala water bottle

You’ll need all the fluids you can get as you recover from your egg retrieval. We’re going to guess you already have an emotional support water bottle, but if not — now’s the time! We love this Owala version that comes in a bunch of colors. Bonus points if you fill it with something with lots of electrolytes, like coconut water. 

Egg retrieval recovery essential #5: pads

August organic day & night pads

Because you may experience some residual bleeding after your retrieval (and since you can’t use tampons for at least a week), we recommend stocking up on some pads. This variety pack from August will keep you covered day and night.

Egg retrieval recovery essential #6: binge-worthy content 

Okay, so this isn’t something you necessarily need to purchase, but it’s worth downloading some mindless shows ahead of time so you won’t have to think about what to watch. 

What to expect after your egg retrieval

Now that you’ve done all your prep, you might be wondering what your recovery will actually be like. After your egg retrieval is done, you’ll wake up in your clinic’s recovery area as the nurses (and possibly an anesthesiologist) continue to monitor you. Your doctor or nurse will let you know how many eggs were retrieved, and if you’ve sufficiently woken up and are feeling mostly normal, they’ll give you permission to leave as long as you’re accompanied by someone. Note: you will not be allowed to drive yourself.

How long is egg retrieval recovery?

Some people feel completely themselves that day and technically could even go to work, but we do recommend at least a day of rest after an egg retrieval if possible. Some doctors may recommend refraining from heavy exercise for about a week (though walking or light movement is okay), and staying on pelvic rest for that same period — meaning, no tampons or sex. You may also be asked to avoid taking baths or swimming to avoid infection. 

Egg retrieval recovery side effects

In general, egg retrieval side effects might include: 

  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Constipation
  • Spotting

Some of the above recommended products, like heating pads and over the counter medicines can alleviate these symptoms. The most important element of egg retrieval recovery, however, is rest. And hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. 

When to call your doctor

After your egg retrieval, you should feel totally like yourself again within a few days. That said, there are a few red flags to watch out for. If you experience any of the following symptoms, report them to your doctor right away:

  • Temperature greater than 101° F
  • Persistent, severe nausea and/or vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain or swelling 
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding (soaking through a pad every hour) 
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Fainting or dizziness

You’ve got this

Just by reading this article, you’re already very prepared for your egg retrieval. Like I said, knowledge is power — and that’s what we’re here to give you. 

If you haven’t yet moved forward with the egg freezing process and you’re interested in learning more about how you can freeze your eggs for free with Cofertility, click here to take our quiz and get started. It just takes a minute.