Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Test Tube Babies

When most people hear the phrase “test tube baby” they may conjure up an image of an X-files episode where special agents Dana Sculley and Fox Mulder discover a secret underground laboratory filled with row upon row of genetically engineered fetuses growing in large cylindrical tubes. The common misconception is that in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a purely scientific procedure with little with the biological parents. This infertility treatment is ideal for couples who have been unsuccessful with other methods of assisted reproductive treatments.
The phrase “test tube baby” is an informal term which refers to a baby conceived in a tube-shaped glass commonly found in biology labs. In vitro fertilization usually takes place in a shallower container called a petri dish. The term “In vitro” refers to a biological procedure that is performed outside the living organism where it would normally occur. In this case, the ova and sperm are removed from their normal hosts and placed in a fluid medium to allow the sperm to fertilize the egg. The fertilized egg, or embryo, is then transferred back to the woman’s uterus. Since in vitro fertilization is a more expensive infertility treatment, it is usually recommended only when less expensive options have failed.
IVF requires a healthy egg and viable sperm, as well as a uterus that can maintain a pregnancy. A woman’s age is a major factor in the success rate of IVF. Pregnancy achieved through IVF for woman under the age of 35 is approximately 43% in the U.S. Success rates begin to drop significantly over the age of 35 and women over 40 attain pregnancy only 4% of the time. There are a vast number of factors involved, some of which are not fully understood, and reasons for failure are many. Embryos may not develop properly, or may not implant once inserted into the uterus. Experienced physicians have higher success rates. It is best if the woman’s own eggs are used. Often multiple embryos are transferred to the uterus to increase the likelihood of pregnancy; however, this practice creates a higher risk of multiple pregnancy.
While the actual conception takes place in a “test tube”, IVF is a complex and involved process for couples trying to conceive. Extensive testing and screening is done to ensure the best success for clients considering IVF as an infertility treatment. Although it can be extremely challenging physically and emotionally, giving birth to a “miracle” child is just the beginning of a life of unforgettable experiences.


About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to explain in vitro fertilization test in plain language. To review this information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com.

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