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How in vitro fertilization (IVF) works - Nassim Assefi and Brian A. Levine

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Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples worldwide. But in the last 40 years, more than 5 million babies have been born using in vitro fertilization (IVF). How does it work? Nassim Assefi and Brian A. Levine detail the science behind making a baby in a lab.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Nassim Assefi, Brian A. Levine
  • Director Tolga Yıldız, Serin İnan
  • Artist Garip Ay
  • Sound Designer Deniz Doğançay
  • Composer Deniz Doğançay
  • Narrator Nassim Assefi
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Sir Robert Geoffrey Edwards was a British physiologist with a keen interest and understanding of human reproductive biology. Along with famed English surgeon, Patrick Steptoe, the two created the world's first in vitro fertilization program. Although the birth of Ms. Brown was their crowning moment, there were many years of scientific frustration before her birth. In fact, Mrs. Leslie Brown (Louise's mother) was referred to Dr. Steptoe for infertility treatment in 1976 and, it was after a total of 102 failed embryo transfers, including an ectopic pregnancy, that Mrs. Leslie Brown became pregnant. Here is a link to a well-written review of the events that led to the birth of Louise.

It is important to recognize that while IVF is vital for some patients, in vitro fertilization and similar treatments account for less than 3% of infertility services. Those technologies include in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT), zygote intra-fallopian transfer (ZIFT), embryo cryopreservation, egg or embryo donation, and gestational carriers. Visit the National Infertility Association for a description of all the technologies available to patients.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has created a robust patient-oriented overview of infertility that reviews what to expect during the first visit with a doctor, some of the common causes of infertility, and some of the most common treatments. For a complete infertility overview, visit this site.

One of the most exciting uses of ART and IVF is in helping patients with cancer preserve their fertility prior to being treated with chemotherapy. The Livestrong Foundation has excellent online resources that describe the treatments and therapies, which can be quite successful. In addition, for those want a more technical review, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has published a set of recommended guidelines on how to treat patients undergoing chemotherapy or who have to have their reproductive organs removed because of cancer or other diseases.
Avatar for RECEP HAYDAR
wert
05/25/2015 • 
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Avatar for isabel santamaria
In vitro fertilization starts by injecting FSH that is administered at levels that are higher than naturally occuring ,to cause a controlled overstimulation of the ovaries so they automatically produce multiple eggs,the eggs are then retrieved just before the ovulation wil occur,while the women is under anesthesia throw a needle the eggs are taken, then in the lab the eggs are prepared for fertilization one way is with the incubaded egg an the other is by needles
05/09/2015 • 
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Avatar for Marco Gualsaqui
Yes of course, becouse IVF is the oportunity for families than can't gets babies. The babies are important for the family happiniest, is the reason for the people have to work, and live and for human reproduction. But this tecnology can gets problems too, becouse in tha last time couples than uses IVF can gets too many babies. I' m not an expert about this topics, but in short terms, It's about get an egg and put inside it, one o more espermatoziodes (depent of the techniques used for that) and get back inside the mother's utero, and wait for a normal pregnancy.
05/09/2015 • 
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Avatar for Thelvia Ramos
In vitro fertilization is a controversial issue because by other side it has been providing solution somehow to the large number of couples who for various reasons haven´t been unable to have children. But there is an ethical dilemma to becauses a lot of embryos that are frezeen product of failed attempts fertilization and they are used for other purposes as obtaining stem cells
05/09/2015 • 
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Avatar for isabel santamaria
No ,i'm not agree because i think that human life cant be created ,i believe that just god can create life,i think that scientist are challenging what we are now and human reproduction, in my opinion human reproduction is the most valuable thing in life and to create something artificial or manipulate the principles of life and human reproduction is something wrong and unethical,i think we musn't exceed the limits
05/09/2015 • 
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Avatar for Pablo Parra
Yes, I am. I think is the most important medical discovery after antibiotics.becouse this tecnical help in the world than exist a lot of heterosexual and homosexual couples has difficulty conceving. and they dont'n have children.
05/09/2015 • 
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Avatar for Nathalie Noboa
Yes, because there a lot of couples that can't have a child so this is a new opportunity for them. Also, because is very safe for the woman. Another thing can be that is a great way to ensure twins if you want that. But, is correct that this is against human nature but I think that everyone deserves the opportunity of being a father or mother because it can be the most important thing in your life and this process will secure marriages from divorce. And, if the couple want to have a girl, they can talk to the doctors to secure the sex of the baby.
05/09/2015 • 
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Avatar for MARIO RON
I agree, because so meny people wuld like to have babys, but they can't fisicaly do.The sciencie mast help to satisfy the humans.
05/09/2015 • 
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Avatar for Brandon Twombly
Brandon Twombly
11/06/2015 • 
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Avatar for Hannah Kennedy
When a woman undergoes IVF the process begins with receiving multiple doses of FSH to encourage the woman's eggs to mature. These mature eggs are then collected from her ovaries and fertilized in a lab. Then this fertilized egg or embryo is implanted in her uterus. The hope is that the uterus will successfully latch onto the embryo and a healthy pregnancy will be the result. Of course I agree with IVF. Many woman are plagued with infertility for reasons beyond their control and if science can safely help them conceive I can't imagine a reason good enough to not allow this.
05/09/2016 • 
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Avatar for Leo Dupont
04/30/2019 • 
 1 Response
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Avatar for Dipti Sharma
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency is just like going through irregular periods,or deficiency in the quantity and the quality of the egg. About 5 to 10% of female with premature ovarian failure conceive subsequently to the diagnosis without medical intervention. Women who are seeking fertility *********** for premature ovarian failure can attain pregnancy through donor eggs.
08/06/2019 • 
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Avatar for Daniela Bautista Gonzalez
In vitro fertilization is a widely used method in recent years and it is believed that if it continues like this in a while more people will have children by IVF than they normally would.
02/16/2022 • 
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Avatar for Venecia Johana García Marmolejo
The video was very interesting to me since it gives us a better understanding of how in vitro fertilization is and tells us several important points
02/16/2022 • 
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Avatar for Erin Duhon
I do not see a reason why not. The biological part of the process is the same, only the way it happens is different.
05/23/2022 • 
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Avatar for PEYTON GRAY
05/23/2022 • 
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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Nassim Assefi, Brian A. Levine
  • Director Tolga Yıldız, Serin İnan
  • Artist Garip Ay
  • Sound Designer Deniz Doğançay
  • Composer Deniz Doğançay
  • Narrator Nassim Assefi

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