For many couples or individuals in vitro fertilization (IVF) offers the best chance of achieving a pregnancy. IVF treatment may be recommended in a range of conditions affecting fertility, including sperm abnormalities, endometriosis, tubal damage, unsuccessful ovulation induction and unexplained infertility.
During the IVF process, the sperm fertilizes the eggs in the laboratory (rather than in the woman’s fallopian tube). This process is implemented by placing the eggs from the woman together with thousands of sperm nearly about 100,000. If the sperm profile is poor the process of fertilization is carried out by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where a single sperm is injected into each egg. Fertilization then takes place over a number of hours in a culture dish maintained under idyllic conditions in the lab.
The fertilized embryos grow in the laboratory over two to five days, before being transferred into the woman’s uterus in a simple procedure called embryo transfer. This involves passing a very fine tube containing the embryo(s) through the cervix and into the uterine cavity. Usually one embryo at a time is transferred with additional embryos stored by freezing for use in subsequent treatments.