Egg retrieval before mikveh
27 November, 2006
I am undergoing an IVF cycle and it looks like the egg retrieval procedure may fall out on the morning before I am supposed to go to the mikva. This poses several issues. Firstly, the procedure, in which a needle under ultrasound guidance is placed through the wall of the vagina to aspirate follicles from the ovary, creates a small amount of vaginal bleeding. At no time do any of the instruments enter the uterus or the cervix (I am a medical student and in addition to my own previous procedures I have seen many done on others and I know this to be absolutely true). The bleeding comes directly from the wall of the vagina itself. It is minimal and typically lasts a day or two. As far as I can tell, this should constitute a “makkah ha yadua sh’motzi dam” and should not render me a niddah. However, would such a makkah preclude tevilah? As far as I know, intercourse would be prohibited with such a makkah but if tevilah is permitted than at least physical contact would be permissible.
If tevilah is permitted, I would have to do one final bedikah in the morning before the procedure. I believe it would be preferable to do the bathing before the procedure as well, since in theory physicians do not like their patients to bathe/swim following a procedure because of the increased risk of infection. However, I have discussed tevilah with my doctor and she thinks that for a quick dunk in the mikvah the risk is likely very small but a longer bath would certainly raise the risk of infection at least a little bit.
If tevilah with a makkah ha yadua sh’motzi dam is not permitted I would have to wait until the bleeding subsided. Would I need to perform another bedika to prove that the bleeding has stopped. Could I rely on the kulah to use a shower as chafifah to eliminate the risk of bathing after the procedure?
1) Bleeding following egg retrieval is considered dam makkah (blood from a wound). Even so, it is critical to have a bedikah on day seven of the clean days. If your procedure is on day seven, you satisfy this requirement by performing a bedikah the morning of the procedure. (If not, please get back to us.) Therefore, you should do one bedikah in the morning before the procedure, and you may ignore the bleeding which follows and immerse as usual. Do not perform another bedikah after the procedure!
2) Dam makkah does not put one in niddah. Therefore, technically you can have relations while bleeding from the procedure. We recommend taking precautions relating to staining after relations in any case, just to be sure that no questions arise. Use colored sheets, wait a few minutes before getting up, use colored towels or tissues to wipe yourselves, and don’t look for any staining.
3) Regarding preparation for the mikveh, you may rely on a thorough shower. You can also choose to take a bath prior to the procedure and just a quick shower immediately prior to immersion. Most important, be sure to check for any barriers carefully and thoroughly before you actually go into the mikveh.
We appreciate your thoughtful and knowledgeable questions. Even so, you might find it helpful to arrange a free consultation with a Yoetzet Halacha Fertility Counselor as you navigate treatment, details here.
This response was updated on 23 May, 2021.
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