An Introduction to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In Vitro Fertilization is the process of trying to conceive a child by implanting an embryo into the uterus. This method is used by couples who have tried to conceive a child on their own, but have failed.

The Beginning of IVF

Doctors actually began trying to create a baby by in vitro in the 1940's. This was unsuccessful due to the lack of knowledge and equipment back then. Then, in 1973, the first IVF was successfully performed. This pregnancy only lasted a few days though. They kept trying until the first successful IVF child was born in 1978. The first IVF baby was Louise Brown. She was born in England to parents who had tried having a child for 9 years before trying IVF. Then, 4 years later they had another daughter, also by IVF. The first IVF baby born in the United States was born in 1981. This was the beginning of IVF.

In Vitro Fertilization has become more effective over the past 10 years due to the improved technology. Advances in ultrasounds have greatly helped this process. Ultrasounds help the doctors to remove the eggs from the uterus and then help assist them to implant the eggs back into the uterus. Some people say that the success rates also depend on where in the uterus the embryos are implanted. The ultrasound also helps determine exactly where the embryo should be placed and how far apart from other embryos.

The Process of IVF

The IVF process starts with the woman taking fertility medications  in order to help her produce more eggs during ovulation. Then, the doctor will remove the eggs from the uterus by using an ultrasound to see the location of the eggs. If the woman is not fertile, a surrogate's eggs can be used. The sperm are ejaculated just before the eggs and sperm are to be combined.

The eggs are combined with the sperm with the use of a microscope and a very small needle. Once the sperm are injected into the eggs, they are left to mature in the embryos in a culture medium. They are left in the medium for about 3 days. Then, the embryos are implanted into the woman. The doctor may also use an ultrasound to help assist with the placement of the embryos.

After 2 weeks, the woman will take a blood test to determine if she is pregnant. If the IVF was successful, she will begin prenatal care. With IVF, there is a chance of carrying multiple babies since there are multiple embryos implanted into the uterus.

In Vitro Fertilization success rates have greatly increased over the years with all of the latest technology which has been developed. The success rates for the delivery of a child are between 50% and 75%. If you are having problems conceiving a child, talk to your doctor to see if this is a good option for you.