IVF and Empty Follicles. Need advice and support. Anyone been through this?


I just went through my first IVF after ttc for 2 years with 1 natural pregancy and miscarriage. I have a very low amh (ovarian reserve) and an FSH of about 12. Before egg retrieval I had 3 dominant follicles in the same ovary and smaller ones in the other. At egg retrieval one of the dominant follicles was missing. The RE said it must have ruptured. After the egg retrieval we were told that they didn’t get any eggs. The RE thinks the fluid from the ruptured follicle may have affected the others. Has anyone experienced this? Has anyone gone on to have a successful IVF cycle? I am so confused.


Everything i have ever read indicates that there are no such things as empty follicles, even though some REs will tell patients otherwise. From my research, every follicle contains an egg, BUT that sometimes it is impossible to retrieve the egg from the follicle. Sometimes the egg sticks to the walls of the follicle because it is immature or for some other reason. The HCG trigger is supposed to help loosen the eggs from the follicle. For my last cycle the doctor told me my eggs were “sticky” and they ended up using a double lumen needle to flush them out.

I am not a doctor, nor do I work in the field - I am only telling you what I know based on Dr. Google.

I am really sorry this happened to you, but I would ask the RE to tell you exactly what happened without dumbing it down.


As maryevelyn said, it is also my understanding that no follicle is truly “empty” - either the egg has already ovulated (more rare) or it failed to cleave and release from the follicle wall (more common). For my IVF in 2010, I had 11 mature follicles and we got 6 eggs - only 2 of which were mature. For my IVF in January, I had 14 mature follicles and we got 7 eggs - only 4 of which were mature. For my IVF in May, we pushed a few extra days to a bigger follicle size and higher E2 level and out of 14 mature follicles, we got 16 eggs - 12 of which were mature. My RE said although the average is that a follicle over 17mm at trigger releasing 100-300 of E2 contains a mature egg, that’s not the case for everybody. Some have eggs that mature at smaller sized follicles and some at larger.

Good luck!


Olive I am very sorry to hear this has happened. There is such anticipation and hope built around Egg retrieval and i can only imagine how disappointed you were to hear the results. We are about to start our second round of IVF after an unsuccessful first try so i know how the journey can knock you around. I wish you all the best with your dreams of having a child.