Egg collection is one of the most important steps in the IVF treatment and could also be one of the most difficult. An optimal egg collection should give the maximum amount of undamaged eggs, in a short period of time, with as little pain and anxiety as possible for the patient. Dr. Göran Westlander is the Medical Director at Fertilitetscentrum, a private IVF-clinic in Sweden. In this blog post he shares his experience on how the egg collection procedure can be optimised.
My top-3 advice for an optimal egg collection procedure
Being a clinician with a long experience in IVF-treatment I have found that there are ways to optimise the egg collection, both for the doctor and the patient. These are my top-3 recommendations for an optimal procedure
- Individualised patient care
- Optimal hormone stimulation with adequate number and size of follicles
- Reduce pain and bleeding during procedure
Individualised patient care makes a difference
At Fertilitetscentrum we believe all patients are unique and should be treated accordingly. At my first consultation talk with the patients I describe the IVF-procedure to make the patient feel informed and secure about what is going to happen. We discuss if there are any adjuvant diseases or other factors in the patient history which might affect a treatment, as well as if there have been previous failed attempts. Based on our discussion I plan for a hormone treatment suited for just this particular patient.
As a part of our patient care we can also offer consultations after a failed treatment, which we believe is very important. During this meeting we try to give explanations to the couple as well as adjusting a new treatment cycle. Sometimes we need to recommend alternative treatments such as egg or sperm donations.
Hormone stimulation should be mild but yet effective
The aim of the hormone stimulation is of course to develop many high quality oocytes. However, it is also important to consider the well-being of the patient. At Fertilitetscentrum we use a short antagonist protocol for the vast majority of our patients. We have found that pregnancy outcomes are comparable with the long agonist protocol, but with more benefits for the patient. Using a short antagonist protocol the patient will be less exposed to any side-effects of the down regulation such as headache, flushes and mood changes.
Our aim is to reduce pain and bleeding for the patient
Using local sedation and conscious anaesthesia during egg collection is the standard method in Sweden, as well as in the rest of Scandinavia. This method is beneficial in many ways, both for the clinician as well as the patient. Sweden has one of the highest overall take-home baby rates in the world considering our single embryo transfer policy. As the patient is awake it is important to reduce pain and anxiety to a minimum.
Some years ago my clinic participated in a randomised controlled study with the aim to see if pain and bleeding during egg collection could be reduced. Our results showed that by using a specially designed needle both pain and bleeding was reduced, compared to a standard egg collection needle.
To watch the full movie and learn more about how Dr. Westlander thinks the egg collection procedure can be optimised, click below.
The opinions expressed by Vitrolife’s guest bloggers are their own and do not necessarily reflect Vitrolife's opinions or views.
Topics: Oocyte retrieval
Written by Dr. Göran Westlander
Dr. Göran Westlander is Medical Director at Fertilitetscentrum, a private IVF-clinic in Sweden and one of our guest bloggers. Göran has an extensive experience in IVF and is one of the few persons in the world with the skill to perform TESE (Microsurgical Testicular Sperm Extraction) to help infertile men becoming parents.