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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.

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.

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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

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