Human oocytes are developed in follicles in the ovaries. Every follicle contains one oocyte. Oocyte retrieval (OR) is performed 34-36 hours after hCG administration, which helps the maturation of the oocytes and their release from the follicles. Once this occurs the oocytes are ready to be collected.
The OR lasts approximately 10-20 minutes and the female partner remains in the Unit for about an hour. While the patient is mildly sedated, the oocytes are located through vaginal ultrasound. A needle is directed by ultrasound, through the vagina. As the needle punctures the follicles, the liquid containing the oocytes is sucked and placed within tubes. The embryologist empties the contents of the tube in a special dish (Petri dish) and checks the sample for oocytes. The oocytes retrieved are placed in a special culture medium with temperature and chemical composition similar to the human body. The Petri dishes are then placed in the incubator, at body temperature for several hours until the oocyte maturation to be completed. Our Unit aims to follow procedures, as close to nature as possible, therefore, the OR is carried out just before ovulation.