Egg retrieval – UK vs Czech Republic

Categories All, Jessop's (Sheffield), My IVF journey, Reprofit (Brno)

Yesterday was egg retrieval day, and it was a completely different experience to the one I had in Reprofit, Czech Republic. Here’s how.

  1. Pre and post care

Unlike cycle one, the nurse at Jessops actually talked us through the process, from the cannula, sedation and procedure, to the phone calls we’d receive from the embryologist for results on day one, three and five post collection. 

At Reprofit, you kind of just went in and out, with the expectation that you knew what to expect. I think it’s because very few of the nurses speak English. At Jessops, they made sure you understood every step of the way, and did all they could to make you feel comfortable, pre and post procedure. 

Plus, at Jessops, they didn’t try and chuck you out an hour after the procedure, either.

2. Sedation not general anaesthetic

I was not looking forward to sedation at Jessops. Knock me out any day of the week! But it was actually OK. The nurse fit the cannula about 45 minutes before the procedure, and didn’t actually hurt that much compared to the one at Reprofit (they have to use a bigger needle for GA).

When having the egg collection, I was amazed at being completely awake and conscious throughout. Some people say they are so heavily sedated, they have no idea what’s happening. Not me. I knew which ovary the doctor was needling At All Times. And I bloody felt it as well, particularly towards the end.

The nurse said I could have had more sedation if I’d wanted, but I braved it out. Why, I do not know. Cos sedation is bloody lovely! Having not a drop to drink for over a month, sedation was just like getting drunk with the first time. And the gas and air wasn’t bad either.

3. I got to choose the music

The nurse did say I could bring in a CD of my choice to listen to during egg collection, but there wasn’t anything that came to mind. But when the doctor asked me what I fancied, for some reason I wanted Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

I’m Still Standing was our wedding song (yeah, stupid I know), so it seemed apt. And it definitely acted as a distraction during the procedure. I remember the nurses and doctor talking about Candle in the Wind, and the whole ‘where were you when you found out Princess Diana died?’ during the procedure. It definitely ended up being a talking point.

At Repofit, I don’t remember if there was music or not. I don’t remember a thing.

4. They got 10! 

Instead of the six eggs I got during cycle one, we got 10 this time. The doctor said that was a ‘perfect’ amount, which made me feel oddly proud. Thank god – 10 eggs was good, right? We just had to wait and see how many were good eggs.

When I got wheeled back into the recovery room and I told my husband we got 10, he punched the air. Finally, it seemed, our luck was in.

5. Egg collection took longer

Whereas in the Czech Republic, I think I was in and out in 15 minutes, I reckon I was having my innards rummaged around in Sheffield for a good half an hour. I guess that’s the different between getting six eggs and 10. Or maybe they were more thorough at Jessops?

6. And so did the recovery

The good thing about sedation, in theory, is you should be able to walk yourself out of the hospital – if you’re feeling well – in an hour or so. Now, I felt OK after. But when it actually came to moving? Well, that was another story entirely. 

The nurse asked me to sit up about an hour after the procedure, to take my cannula out, and this big wave of nausea came over me, I felt a rush of blood to the head and I reckon I was two seconds from passing out and throwing up. I didn’t, but every time I moved from then on, I was in proper pain.

After a couple of hours, I got up to put my clothes on. I was a bit bored by this point and wanted to get on the road, as was my husband. Again, a big head rush, feeling sick and pain in my left ovary. I had to go back to my bed to lie down.

At 1:15pm (the procedure was at 10am), the nurse came in. I think everyone else who’d had egg collection that morning had gone home, and me and my husband were the only ones still there. She asked me how I was, and I explained that every time I got up, I felt sick and in pain.

‘Do you want some codeine?’ she said. ‘Yes please,’ I replied. 20 minutes later, we were on our way.

At Reprofit, I remember walking back to our apartment about an hour after the procedure, as I felt absolutely fine. There’s no way I could have done that after this cycle.

7. Work is a great distraction

After I’d taken the stronger pain killer, I felt OK. We drove home from Sheffield to Windsor that afternoon, and I was fine the next morning. 

I was supposed to be working from home that day, but I didn’t want to spend it on my own, so my husband gave me a lift and it was great to have the distraction of work.

In Czech Republic, we walked home in silence, went back to the apartment and I cried all afternoon and night. The next day, I did much the same. Feeling bloated at that point, and not really wanting to go out and do anything, the pair of us were practically climbing the walls, and felt like caged animals until egg transfer five days later.

Being at work this time around was the best place for me.

8. This time round, the pain lingered

I normally walk everywhere, both to and from work, during my lunch break etc. So it was frustrating for me to be sedentary for the first few days. 

Two days after the procedure, I decided to walk back from work instead of getting a lift from my husband. Well that was a mistake. I felt fine, and started off slowly. It was a lovely evening, so the stroll and fresh air will do me good, I thought.

About midway through, I was struggling a bit. I was beginning to feel more and more uncomfortable, and increasingly in pain. Luckily I was in a park, so I stopped, and lay down. And then I couldn’t move. Literally, it was agony to even reposition my legs.

Luckily, I had some strong painkillers in my bag. I took them and waited. It was about half an hour before I could get up and make the rest of the journey home. Needless to say, exerting yourself after egg collection is a bad idea.

9. Better numbers equals less stress (a bit)

You know when you start googling post egg collection, and you read all the stories of women who got 20+ eggs? It always amazes me. And after the first cycle, I was devastated. Six seemed so pitiful. To get into double figures this time felt much better, but still nowhere near what some people get.

However, having those extra few eggs definitely took the pressure off our situation a bit. At least we were starting off in a better position this time, I thought. Based on the stats, we at least have a chance of getting two or three to a day five blast. 

I wish people who got 20+ eggs realised how difficult it is for those who get far fewer eggs. Rather than a nerve-wrecking but exciting five day wait, you are besides yourself with worry and dread the entire time. Sure, I’m not saying I wasn’t worried – I was, of course. But at least there was a chance.

10. We were given the results first thing

Unlike at Reprofit, where you had to wait till 1pm and call a hotline to get your results, Jessops call you first thing in the morning on days one, three and five. No waiting around for half the day. Just a tense couple of hours before you get the results.  

And so the two-week wait begins…

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