In vitro fertilisation. Light microscope view of the process of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), in which a human egg (ovum) is being injected with a sperm cell. At right, a needle introduces the sperm into the circular egg. The broad object at left is a pipette used to hold the egg steady while the needle is inserted. It is a technique which ensures penetration of the egg, without wasting millions of sperm. By mid-1993 this new technique of in vitro fertilisation was still at a clinical research stage of development, but had been used successfully at some IVF centres around the world to treat infertile couples.
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