‘In-vitro fertilisation’ is a very popular method of assisted reproductive technology where an egg is fertilized by a sperm outside the body. The process of fertilization is done outside the body in a dish, and hence the term ‘in-vitro’.
A colloquial term for babies conceived as the result of IVF, “test tube babies”, refers to the tube-shaped containers of glass or plastic resin, called test tubes, that are commonly used in chemistry labs and biology labs. The first successful birth of a “test tube baby”, Louise Brown, occurred in 1978. Louise Brown was born as a result of natural cycle IVF where no stimulation was made. Robert G. Edwards, the physiologist who developed the treatment, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010.
This form of assisted reproductive technology is considered when either one of the couple is diagnosed with problem in uterus, fallopian tube, ovaries, low sperm count, endometriosis or antibodies that sperms or eggs. IVF treatment has helped many infertile couples smile happily with their own child.
The contents of a woman’s fallopian tubes or uterus is collected and then mixed with sperm. After fertilization, the fertilized ovum is re-inserted into the uterus. However, IVF treatment is a comprehensive process which is sub-divided into a series of steps.
The first step is ovarian hyper-stimulation to generate multiple eggs. Then ultrasound is used to detect when the eggs are ready to be retrieved. The doctor then removes the eggs from the ovaries. Sperm is then collected to be mixed with the eggs and then the dish is kept under observation.
The fertilized eggs are called embryos and after careful inspection, the healthiest embryos are inserted into the uterus. With regular hormones and other medications, the chances of getting pregnant are increased.
With the technological advancements, the success rates of IVF have increased drastically. IVF treatments, which were once a dreaded topic, are now increasingly popular and it has given hope to millions of couple. With IVF, women who are way past their reproductive years have also been able to conceive. In fact, Adriana Iliescu holds the record as the oldest woman to give birth with IVF when she gave birth at the age of 66.
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