What is IVF

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a form of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), where the female egg is fertilized by the male sperm outside the body. It simply comprises a series of procedures adopted to help with conception in the case of infertility, convenience, and in the prevention of genetic diseases.

Here, mature eggs (oocyte) are collected (retrieved) from the ovaries, and the sperm of the male partner is collected as well. These are mixed in a petri dish in the lab, where fertilization occurs. The product of fertilization (zygote) is cultured for few days and it is then transferred into the woman’s uterus where implantation occurs, and pregnancy is achieved. The fate of the pregnancy is like any other pregnancy that occurred spontaneously (in the normal cycle). The only difference here is that fertilization is aided and it occurs externally.

There are many reasons pregnancy may not occur spontaneously. From the problem of low or no sperms, to complications of blocked fallopian tubes in the female, poor quality of eggs, abnormalities with the womb, and a whole lot of problems. The IVF procedure stands in the gap between these problems and the possibility of ever conceiving and bearing children.

The IVF treatment also finds great application in the condition of elimination of unfavorable genetic traits. This happens when the parents are carriers of certain genetic traits which they do not want their children to inherit. A prominent example is the sickle cell carrier gene. Here, an advanced approach known as Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is adopted in identifying the gene that will be responsible for the expression of these unfavorable traits in the embryo before implantation.

In addition, sex selection is also made possible through the IVF treatment procedure.

Against popular belief systems people have built around IVF and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), the reality is, most of the problems of infertility finds solution here. And it can serve you too!

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