In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body: in vitro (“in glass”). The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman’s ovulatory process, removing ovum or ova (egg or eggs) from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilize them in a fluid medium in a laboratory. The fertilized egg (zygote) is cultured for 2–6 days in a growth medium and is then implanted in the same or another woman’s uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.
IVF techniques can be employed in a variety of situations. It is a method of assisted reproductive technology for treatment of infertility. IVF techniques are also employed in gestational surrogacy, in which case the fertilized egg is implanted into a surrogate’s uterus, and the resulting child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate. In some cases, donated eggs or sperms may be used.