In Vitro Fertilization typically begins with ovarian stimulation. The patient’s ovaries are stimulated with drugs that cause many follicles to develop. The eggs in these follicles are then matured, removed, and fertilized with sperm in the laboratory.
Next, the fertilized embryos are grown in carefully controlled laboratory conditions until they are ready to be returned to the woman’s uterus. At that time, the embryos are evaluated under a microscope, and the best embryos are carefully transferred to the uterus. Any remaining viable embryos may be frozen for later use.
In Vitro Fertilization is a very versatile procedure. The eggs may come from the intended parent or an egg donor. The sperm may come from an intended parent or a sperm donor. The embryos may be transferred to the uterus of an intended parent or a gestational carrier who carries the pregnancy for the parent(s), if necessary. IVF can be attempted using either fresh or frozen embryos. IVF has successfully been used to provide children to women with no male partner, men with no female partner and same-sex couples. IVF also allows the option of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis or screening of embryos in order to reduce the risk of having children with genetic diseases.
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