Is IVF Painful?

IVF Pain and Considerations Guide

What Is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a fertility treatment procedure that involves the manual fertilization of an egg with sperm outside the body, in a laboratory setting. The process typically begins with stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs. These eggs then get retrieved from the woman's ovaries using a minor surgical procedure. Meanwhile, a sperm sample gets collected from the male partner or a donor. The eggs and sperm are combined in a laboratory dish, allowing fertilization to occur. The resulting embryos are monitored and cultured in the laboratory for a few days before one or more of them are transferred into the woman's uterus to achieve a successful pregnancy.

IVF[1] often gets utilized as a treatment option for couples or individuals facing fertility challenges, which include issues like blocked fallopian tubes, low sperm count, ovulation disorders, or unexplained infertility.

Related Blog: Everything You Need to Know Before You Do IVF

What Is the Procedure for IVF?

The procedure[1] for in vitro fertilization (IVF) involves several key steps. It begins with stimulating the ovaries using fertility medications to produce multiple mature eggs. The eggs then get retrieved from the ovaries through follicular aspiration. Meanwhile, a sperm sample gets collected from the male partner or a donor. In the laboratory, the eggs and sperm are combined and placed in a controlled environment to allow fertilization. The resulting embryos are monitored and cultured for a few days before one or more get transferred into the woman's uterus. After the transfer, a period of monitoring and waiting follows to determine if a successful pregnancy has been accomplished. Close collaboration with a fertility specialist is essential to ensure the best possible chances of success.

1. Stimulating the Ovaries with Fertility Drugs

Stimulating the ovaries[1] with fertility drugs in IVF is a crucial part of the procedure. It involves the administration of specific medications, often hormones, to the woman undergoing IVF treatment. The purpose is to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs instead of the usual single egg released during a natural menstrual cycle. The chances of successful fertilization and embryo development improve by increasing the number of eggs available. The medications used for ovarian stimulation may include injections or oral medications that regulate the follicular development and timing of egg maturation.

2. Egg Retrieval

The egg retrieval step[1] in IVF is a minor surgical procedure to collect the mature eggs from the woman's ovaries. It typically takes place around 36 hours after a trigger injection gets administered to ensure the eggs are at the optimal stage of maturation. The procedure is conducted under anesthesia or conscious sedation to minimize discomfort. A thin needle is inserted through the vaginal wall and guided by ultrasound imaging to access each ovary. The follicles containing the eggs are aspirated, meaning the fluid gets suctioned out, and the eggs are collected. This process gets repeated for each ovary. The collected eggs are then immediately transferred to the laboratory, where they are evaluated for their quality and prepared for fertilization through IVF or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). The egg retrieval procedure is relatively quick and usually completed within 20-30 minutes. Following the egg retrieval procedure, some women may experience mild cramping or discomfort, but these symptoms typically resolve within a day or two.

3. Fertilization[1]

The fertilization step in IVF is where the collected eggs get combined with sperm in a laboratory setting to facilitate fertilization. There are two primary methods used for fertilization in IVF: conventional IVF and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

4. Embryo Transfer

The embryo transfer[1] step in IVF places the developed embryos into the woman's uterus. It typically gets performed a few days after egg retrieval and fertilization. Before the transfer, the embryos are evaluated based on their quality and development to determine the most viable ones for transfer. The procedure usually gets conducted in the fertility clinic without anesthesia.

During the embryo transfer, a thin catheter containing the selected embryos is guided through the cervix into the uterus using ultrasound guidance. The embryos are then gently released into the uterine cavity. The number of embryos transferred depends on various factors, including the woman's age, embryo quality, and specific circumstances. It is essential to balance the chances of successful implantation and pregnancy while minimizing the risk of multiple pregnancies.

Is IVF Painful?

The pain experienced during IVF can vary among individuals and depends on various factors, including the specific steps involved in the procedure, an individual's pain tolerance, and the techniques used for anesthesia and sedation.

Some aspects[2] of IVF, such as administering fertility medications, including injections, may cause discomfort or mild pain. The egg retrieval procedure is typically performed under anesthesia or conscious sedation, which helps minimize any potential pain or discomfort during the surgical process. After the procedure, some women may experience mild cramping or distress, but these symptoms usually subside within a day or two.

It's important to note that healthcare providers ensure patient comfort and minimize pain throughout the IVF process. They will provide detailed instructions, pain management strategies, and medication options when necessary. Open communication with the healthcare team can help address any concerns or discomfort experienced during IVF, and they can provide appropriate support and guidance.

Are IVF Injections Painful?

IVF injections can cause varying levels of discomfort. However, they are generally well-tolerated by most individuals. The injections involve administering fertility medications subcutaneously or intramuscularly to stimulate the ovaries and regulate the development of follicles. The sensation experienced during the injections can vary from person to person. Some individuals may feel a brief sting or pinch during the injection, while others may experience minor soreness at the injection site afterward.

To help minimize discomfort, healthcare providers often provide detailed instructions[2] on proper injection techniques and suggest using smaller needles or numbing the injection site with ice or a topical anesthetic beforehand. Taking injections slowly and steadily can also reduce discomfort. Additionally, fertility medications can sometimes cause side effects such as temporary bloating or tenderness in the ovaries.

Communicate any concerns or pain experienced during IVF injections with the healthcare team. They can provide guidance, support, and suggestions to manage discomfort and ensure the process is as comfortable as possible.

Is Egg Retrieval Painful?

Egg retrieval during IVF is typically performed with anesthesia or conscious sedation to minimize pain and discomfort. Most individuals do not experience pain during the procedure due to the numbing effects of the anesthesia.

The main egg retrieval procedure[2] involves the insertion of a thin needle through the vaginal wall, guided by ultrasound imaging, to access the ovaries and collect the mature eggs from the ovarian follicles. Some individuals may feel pressure or mild cramping during the procedure, but it should not be painful.

After the procedure, it is common to experience some mild cramping or discomfort, similar to menstrual cramps, which typically resolve within a day or two. The healthcare team may provide pain management options, such as over-the-counter pain relievers when needed.

Is Embryo Transfer Painful?

Embryo transfer during IVF is generally a quick and minimally invasive procedure[2] that is typically well-tolerated and causes minimal discomfort. It is usually performed without anesthesia, although some clinics may offer a mild sedative to help the patient relax.

During the embryo transfer procedure, a thin catheter is gently inserted through the cervix into the uterus, guided by ultrasound imaging. The transfer of the embryos into the uterine cavity is typically painless, although some women may experience a mild sensation of pressure or cramping. This discomfort is generally brief and subsides shortly after the procedure.

After the embryo transfer, some women may experience mild cramping or pelvic discomfort, similar to menstrual cramps. These symptoms are usually temporary and resolve within a short period.

How To Manage The Pain Of IVF?

To manage pain during IVF, here are some approaches[2] that can be helpful:

  • Discuss any concerns or discomfort you experience during the IVF process with your healthcare team. They can guide, answer your questions, and suggest pain management strategies tailored to your needs.
  • Follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider for administering fertility medications.
  • If needed, use over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed by your healthcare provider to manage any mild discomfort or cramping.
  • Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or gentle yoga to reduce stress and promote overall well-being.
  • Seek emotional support from loved ones or support groups throughout the IVF process. Practice self-care by engaging in activities that help you relax, reduce stress, and focus on your well-being.


Before deciding on IVF treatment, there are several important factors to consider. It is crucial to undergo a comprehensive fertility evaluation, understand the success rates of the chosen clinic, and assess the financial implications of the treatment. Emotional and physical preparedness, with an understanding of the potential risks and complications, are vital considerations. A support system and exploration of alternative methods are also essential. Consulting with a healthcare professional or fertility specialist is crucial to make an informed decision and develop a personalized plan considering individual circumstances and desires.

Experience Exceptional IVF Treatment at DPU Hospital

Becoming a parent and giving birth are life-changing events in one's life. If IVF is the way forward for you, contact us at DPU Private Super Specialty Hospital, where the experts can guide you and show you a complete picture of what your journey of motherhood would look like. With state-of-the-art infrastructure and medical expertise, you will be in safe hands here.