In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer
IVF (in vitro fertilization) is one of the most common form available of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) to help infertile couples achieve pregnancy. It has been used successfully since 1978, when the first child to be conceived by this method was born in England. Over the past 30 years, thousands of couples have used this method of ART or similar procedures to conceive. IVF can be thought of as a bypass of the fallopian tubes. The IVF process involves stimulating the ovaries to make multiple eggs. Once the eggs are "mature," they are removed from the ovary with a very minor procedure (pick-up) for which the woman receives a mild anaesthetic. After the eggs are retrieved, they are put into a petri dish and exposed to the man's sperm. After several days the embryos are placed in the woman's uterus with a simple procedure (embryo transfer) that is generally no more uncomfortable than a Pap test. If there are extra embryos that are viable, they can be cryopreserved (frozen) for future use. In vitro fertilization is a method suitable for couples with any one of various causes of infertility, including tubal factor, endometriosis, and certain types of moderate male factor infertility in which sperm counts and/or motility are low but there are enough active sperm to allow fertilization in the laboratory.
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