In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Over the last 30 years, IVF has made tremendous progress in its acceptability and success rates. In 1973, Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development (now known as Monash IVF) researchers achieved the world’s first IVF pregnancy. However, this pregnancy resulted in an ectopic pregnancy. Five years later, based on their work, the world’s first IVF baby was born in the UK in July 1978.

IVF is a technique that mimics the process of human fertilization in the laboratory. Although it is now readily and widely available, the success of an IVF depends on a high degree of knowledge, the skill and attention to detail by the doctor and the advances in the laboratory.

The process of an IVF involves removing eggs from the woman’s body, fertilizing them in the laboratory with her partner’s sperm and transferring the resulting embryos back to her uterus between Day 3 to day 5 after fertilization.

Though this is a simple explanation of IVF-ET, the procedure involves five essential steps:

(1)    stimulation of the woman’s ovary with hormone injections to produce more eggs

(2)    removing the eggs from the body (egg collection procedure)

(3)    obtaining the partner’s semen(sperm)

(4)    fertilization of the eggs in the laboratory

(5)    placing the embryos in the uterus (embryo transfer procedure) and using further medications to strengthen the uterus (womb) until the day of the pregnancy test.

If there are extra embryos left after the embryo transfer procedure, they are frozen (frozen embryos) and used at a later stage to attempt pregnancy again.

Since the first IVF in 1973 by Monash IVF, over five million babies have been born using this method. It is an effective treatment for almost all causes of infertility.

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