Not many generations ago, couples who were unable to bear children on their own had only one alternative if they wanted a family: adoption. Things have changed enormously in recent years. Barren couples may be able to bear their own children—babies born from IVF or In Vitro Fertilization.
The term in vitro simply means “within the glass” because the cultivation of tissues outside the mother is achieved in glass containers such as beakers, test tubes, or Petri dishes. This is to distinguish it from in vivo where the tissue remains inside the mother.
Babies conceived via IVF are sometimes called test-tube babies even though the fertilization usually takes place in a Petri dish. IVF is typically performed on couples who have found themselves infertile. However, it may sometimes be used when they want to have multiple births. The cause of the infertility may be problems of the fallopian tube.
Main criteria for a successful in vitro fertilization:
- Healthy ova
- Sperm that can fertilize
- Uterus that can maintain pregnancy
IVF is expensive and is usually a last resort after other less-costly approaches have failed.