In vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF, is one of the most popular and effective types of fertility treatment available today.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method of assisted reproduction in which a man’s sperm and a woman’s egg are combined in a laboratory. Following fertilization and early embryo development in the laboratory, an appropriate number of embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus.
Natural conception begins with the release of a single ovum (egg) from the woman’s ovaries. The fallopian tube picks up the egg, and it is within the fallopian tube that the sperm will fertilize the egg. Following fertilization, the zygote, or early embryo, stays in the tube for about three days while it divides into more and more cells. The embryo is then transported to the uterus where it will “float” for approximately three days until it implants into the wall of the uterus. IVF replicates this process in a lab environment.
When is IVF used?
IVF was originally designed for couples in which the woman’s fallopian tubes were absent or damaged. The events normally occurring in the fallopian tubes, including fertilization and early embryo development, occur in the laboratory instead. Success with IVF has progressed to the point where it is now an alternative, if not the treatment of choice, for many couples with impaired fertility. Some couples combine IVF treatment with the use of donor eggs. IVF has revolutionized the approach to infertility.