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Independent Info & News Regarding IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

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Test Tube Baby

Definition


A
test tube baby is a baby who has been created through the IVF process. It is a method of artificial impregnation where the tissues are merged outside living organisms. Normally this technique is chosen as the last option of assisted reproductive technology since it's a complex and expensive process.


Firstly, the ovulatory process of the female egg donor is hormonally controlled. Then the egg is extracted and the hard shell of the egg cell is removed so the egg could be fertilized by donor sperm. When both egg and sperm cells have merged, they form a zygote. Zygote is then placed in a test tube in a fluid medium to let it grow for a while. When the cell cluster has reached a certain maturity state it is transferred to the uterus of the surrogate mother. If zygote successfully bonds to the uterus wall, the fertilization process is complete and pregnancy starts.

First Test Tube Baby


The first pregnancy achieved through in vitro human fertilization was reported in 1973, but it lasted only few days and ended up in a miscarriage. The gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and the physiologist Robert Edwards had been working hard on finding an different, better
infertility treatment since 1966. By 1977 they had done about 80 in vitro fertilization procedures which lasted only few short weeks. They had discovered how to successfully fertilize an egg outside a woman's body but there were still some troubles after putting the egg back into a woman's uterus.


Continued below....

Things became different when their patient in the Oldham General Hospital (Great Britain) Lesley Brown whose fallopian tubes were blocked successfully passed the first few weeks of pregnancy. The pregnancy resulted with the worlds first successful test tube baby Louise Joy Brown who was born on July 25, 1978. Louise Joy Brown is now happily married and she has a son who was conceived in the natural way.


How Test Tube Babies Changed The World


Throughout history people have invented various methods on how to treat infertility. Ancient cultures connected infertility with gods, who were also called upon to help out in the form of rituals and offerings. Yet most of couples remained childless. In the 1960’s fertility FDA-approved medication appeared on the scene and it changed things quite a lot. They were designed to stimulate the ovary to produce eggs. These pills and injections helped thousands of women whose reproductive systems were in a need of a boost. But they were powerless when it came to women with blocked fallopian tubes.


Test tube babies was the solution the world was seeking for. In vitro fertilization allows both women with blocked fallopian tubes and also post-menopausal women have an option to conceive if they wish. However, the success rate of the procedure is around 35% and each in vitro fertilization attempt in USA costs at least $10,000 , average price being $30,000 - 40,000$.

Are Test Tube Babies Healthy?


This is a very important question when considering artificial conception methods. Does being outside the womb, even for just a couple of days harm the egg? And if the baby isn't normal, is it because of in vitro fertilization or is there another cause?


One reason to worry is that many test tube babies are more likely to have low birth weight. All babies with low weight no matter if they are test tube babies or naturally born babies often have health problems which may influence them on the long term.


Another thing is that there is a possibility that test tube babies could be genetically different than those who were born naturally. There is no way to tell why is it so and whether these gene expression differences can cause health problems or not. Most of test tube babies have no significant health problems. But one has to bear in mind that the oldest test tube baby, Louis Brown at the moment is only a bit over 30 years old and most of them are still under 20 so one can't observe long-term health problems yet.

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