In Vitro Fertilization

Infertility is when a couple is unable to reproduce (regardless of cause) after 1 year of unprotected sexual intercourse -using no birth control methods.

Infertility affects an estimated 6.1 million people in the United States - about 10% of men and women of reproductive age.

New and advanced technologies to help a woman become pregnant include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and other similar procedures.

IVF was used successfully for the first time in the United States in 1981. More than 250,000 babies have been born since then as a result of using the in vitro fertilization technique. IVF offers infertile couples a chance to have a child who is biologically related to them.

With IVF, a method of assisted reproduction, a man's sperm and the woman's egg are combined in a laboratory dish, where fertilization occurs. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the woman's uterus (womb) to implant and develop naturally. Usually, 2-4 embryos are placed in the woman's uterus at one time. Each attempt is called a cycle.

The term test tube baby is often used to refer to children conceived with this technique. The first so-called test tube baby, Louise Brown, reached age 25 years in 2003. She was born in England.

Less than 5% of infertile couples actually use IVF. IVF is usually the treatment of choice for a woman with blocked, severely damaged, or no fallopian tubes. IVF is also used to overcome infertility caused by endometriosis or problems with the man's sperm (such as low sperm count). Couples who simply can't conceive and have tried other infertility methods that have not worked for them can also try IVF.
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