In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a process by which an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body: in vitro, in a highly sophisticated lab and in peer inspection of medical personals. It is a major treatment for infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed.
In vitro fertilisation could be performed by collecting the contents from a woman’s fallopian tubes or uterus after natural ovulation, mixing it with semen, and reinserting into the uterus. Here, the sperm and the egg are incubated together at a ratio of about 75,000:1 in the culture media for about 18 hours. The fertilized egg is passed to a special growth medium and left for about 48 hours until the egg consists of six to eight cells.
In gamete intrafallopian transfer, eggs are removed from the woman and placed in one of the fallopian tubes, along with the man’s sperm. This allows fertilisation to take place inside the woman’s body (may also be Surrogate Mother).
- IVF may be used to overcome female infertility in the woman due to problems of the fallopian tube, making fertilisation in vivo difficult.
- It may also assist in male infertility, where there is a defect in sperm quality, and in such cases intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be used, where a sperm cell is injected directly into the egg cell.
- This is used when sperm have difficulty penetrating the egg, and in these cases the partner’s or a donor’s sperm may be used.
- An expensive process
- Chances of multiple births
- May lead to production of many unwanted embryos
- Legal case may arise among surrogate and genetic mother