In vitro fertilization

Infertility is the biological inability of a man or a woman to contribute to conception. In general, it is estimated that 10–15% of couples fails to conceive within 1–2 years of trying and is termed as clinical subfertility. There are many biological causes of infertility. However, medical science has progressed so much that most of the infertility problems have solutions. There is more hope for people without children as a number of treatments exist to correct these disorders.

It is estimated that infertility affects approximately 10% of people of reproductive age, and 15% of couples. Further it is also estimated that about 40% of infertility cases are due to some disorder in male partner, 40% involve a female factor, and the remainder involves both sexes. Today there are several treatments available for infertility and in vitro fertilization is one such treatment procedure. This paper discusses the history, the pros and cons and also the future of this treatment.

IVF is a major treatment in infertility especially for couples where other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. IVF is a popular treatment option to overcome male infertility where sperm counts are low. In this process, sperm of normal appearance and motility are collected from a sperm sample, concentrated and added to a dish containing oocytes for IVF. Additionally a hole may be drilled in the zona of oocytes to facilitate sperm penetration.

Special techniques of IVF are used for aspermia, in which sperm can be collected from the testis or epididymis. In subzonal drilling, sperm are injected beneath the zona. For intracytoplasmic injection, a single sperm cell is injected into oocyte cytoplasm. All these procedures result in fertilization. Soon after fertilization, the cells start multiplying and once a desired number of cell divisions occur, these embryos are transferred into the uterus for implantation.

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) explains fertility therapies with numerous common features. The basic feature of the technology is the manipulation of both sperm and eggs in the laboratory. In IVF, which is by far the most generally applied ART today, conception occurs in a laboratory environment outside the body and is not linked with coitus. Early embryonic development also occurs in the laboratory. Additionally, conventional ART as practiced today involves ovarian stimulation with drugs that result in the production of multiple eggs for therapy.

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