IVF is an abbreviation for Invitro Fertilisation
The fertilisation procedure takes place in the laboratory thus the use of the term ‘test tube baby’ for IVF conceived babies.
In clinical practice, one of the fertilised eggs (embryo) is typically returned into the woman’s womb (embryo transfer) with a good chance of progressing like a natural pregnancy.
This assisted reproductive technology resulted in the first human being born through the IVF process in 1978 in the UK.
In its infancy, a typical IVF patient would have no tubes or blocked tubes.
As the female fallopian tubes are necessary for egg and sperm passage and ultimately fertilisation, the IVF technique was a critical fertility treatment for conception in these scenarios.
Today, the reasons for performing this procedure have been extended to the treatment of virtually any type of subfertility, notably severe endometriosis, male factor and unexplained subfertility. Although, the use of donor sperms and surrogacy predated IVF, egg donation owes its success rates to IVF technology.
Increasingly, IVF-assisted reproductive technology is now being used to reduce significantly the chance of miscarriage and genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis. This is referred to as preimplantation genetic testing (PGT).
Therefore, not all individuals or couples seeing IVF have difficulty conceiving.
In just over 40 years since the first IVF baby, Louise Brown was born in 1978, success rates indicate over 8 million more babies have been born worldwide.
Locally, 1 in 20 babies was conceived via IVF
This number is set to rise for a variety of reasons. These include trends to delay childbearing, declining male and female fertility, advances in fertility treatments including egg freezing technology and the ability of IVF & PGT to widen the scope of genetic testing in future.