In Vitro Fertilization

In vitro fertilization or fertilisation (IVF) is a process by which an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body: in vitro ("in glass"). The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman's ovulatory process, removing ovum or ova (egg or eggs) from the woman's ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a liquid in a laboratory.

The fertilised egg (zygote) is cultured for 2–6 days in a growth medium and is then implanted in the same or another woman's uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.

Theoretically, in vitro fertilisation could be performed by collecting the contents from a woman's fallopian tubes or uterus after natural ovulation, mixing it with sperm, and reinserting the fertilised ova into the uterus.

However, without additional techniques, the chances of pregnancy would be extremely small. The additional techniques that are routinely used in IVF include ovarian hyperstimulation to generate multiple eggs or ultrasound-guided transvaginal oocyte retrieval directly from the ovaries; after which the ova and sperm are prepared, as well as culture and selection of resultant embryos before embryo transfer into a uterus.