IV sedation or local anesthesia?

So after endless doctor visits for bloodwork and ultrasounds, and nearly three weeks of self-administered injections, I finally get told today that the doctor thinks I’m ready for the procedure to extract my eggs this Saturday. This is called, in doctor speak, oocyte retrieval, or in everyday speak, egg retrieval. The nurse calls me today to ask me if I’d just like local anesthesia or IV sedation. In my head, I’m thinking they serve pretty much the same purpose. Well, guess what? I’m wrong since I know very little about this stuff.

The nurse explains that the local anesthesia would be an injection in my vagina (!!!!!). This would numb the area, but because the procedure goes so quickly, the actual numbness would not go into effect until about 10-15 minutes in, and this procedure, depending on how many oocytes there are, is only between 20-30 minutes. So in other words, I’d actually feel the doctor sticking aspirating needles into EACH of my follicles. Ummmmmm, NO.

The second option is IV sedation. This is when an anesthesiologist would stick an IV into my arm, and when the doctor was ready to begin, he’d have the IV activated, I’d initially taste a bit of metallic in my mouth, and within ten seconds, I’d be sleeping. So I’d have no recollection or feeling of anything that happened during this procedure.

This is a very easy decision to make. I absolutely want IV sedation!

But get this: the nurse explains the reason they have to ask this is that because most women who go through this procedure have zero insurance coverage, so having IV sedation would be yet another line item on your bill. I confirmed with her that my insurance does cover these benefits, and when I gave her the name of the provider, she then said, “Oh, then they will definitely cover IV sedation then!” (And because I’m paranoid, I contacted the insurance provider to confirm in writing that they’d cover this).

This really doesn’t have to be this complicated. But because we’re in the U.S. navigating healthcare, it has to be this insane.

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