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IVF stands for in vitro fertilization. It’s one of the more widely known types of assisted reproductive technology (ART). IVF works by using a combination of medicines and surgical procedures to help sperm fertilize an egg, and help the fertilized egg implant in your uterus.
First, you take medication that makes several of your eggs mature and ready for fertilization. Then the doctor takes the eggs out of your body and mixes them with sperm in a lab, to help the sperm fertilize the eggs. Then they put 1 or more fertilized eggs (embryos) directly into your uterus. Pregnancy happens if any of the embryos implant in the lining of your uterus.
Why Is In Vitro Fertilization Performed?
IVF helps people with infertility who want to have a baby. IVF is expensive and invasive, so couples often try other fertility treatments first. These may include taking fertility drugs or having intrauterine insemination. During that procedure, a doctor transfers sperm directly into a woman’s uterus.
Infertility issues for which IVF may be necessary include:
reduced fertility in women over the age of 40
blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
reduced ovarian function
male infertility, such as low sperm count or abnormalities in sperm shape
Parents may also choose IVF if they run the risk of passing a genetic disorder on to their offspring. A medical lab can test the embryos for genetic abnormalities. Then, a doctor only implants embryos without genetic defects.