Infertility is the inability of a couple to become pregnant (regardless of cause) after 1 year of unprotected sexual intercourse without using any form of birth control methods. Infertility affects about 6.1 million people in the United States, which is about 10% of men and women of reproductive age. New and advanced technologies to help a woman become pregnant include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection(ICSI), and other similar procedures.
IVF was used successfully for the first time in the United States in 1981. More than 250,000 babies have been born since then as a result of using the in vitro fertilization technique. IVF offers infertile couples a chance to have a child who is biologically their own. With IVF, a method of assisted reproduction, a man's sperm and the woman's egg are combined in a laboratory dish, where fertilization occurs. The resulting embryo is then transferred via embryo transfer to the woman's uterus (womb) to implant and develop naturally. Usually, 2-4 embryos are placed in the woman's uterus at one time. Each attempt is called a cycle.
The term test tube baby is often used to refer to children conceived with this technique. The first so-called test tube baby, Louise Brown, reached age 25 years in 2003. She was born in England.
Less than 5% of infertile couples actually use IVF. IVF is usually the treatment of choice for a woman with blocked, severely damaged, or no fallopian tubes. IVF is also used to overcome infertility caused by endometriosis or problems with the man's sperm (such as low sperm count). Couples who simply can't conceive and have tried other infertility methods that have not worked for them can also try IVF and perhaps be successful.
Disclosure: I received compensation for publishing this guest post from Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!