Most of the surgical complications surrounding egg retrieval stem from two basic facts about the surgery: a needle must be pushed through the vagina and into the ovary, and a number of other organs and sensitive tissues lie nearby. The hypogastric artery (also known as the internal iliac artery) runs past the ovary, for example, as does the ureter. The surgeon often finds the ureter right next to the ovary, explained Ana Murphy, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical College of Georgia, which might put the ureter at high risk for inadvertent damage.
It is difficult to know, however, exactly how often such complications occur, Dr. Murphy said. Although excellent statistics are kept on such things as how many viable eggs each procedure produces, the statistics are not so complete on the complications that ensue during and after