ALEXANDER TSIARAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. ALEXANDER TSIARAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
In vitro fertilisation (IVF); operating theatre scene showing doctors implanting fertilised ova (ie embryos) into the uterus of potential mother. Most IVF techniques rely on transfer of 3 or 4 embryos, via a catheter through the cervix, to increase the chances that at one will successfully implant into the uterine wall (endometrium). Timing is critical, since the drugs used to cause women to superovulate (produce a large number of ova, which are subsequently harvested) may render the endometrium unwelcoming to an embryo. A potential solution is to freeze the embryos until the woman's hormonal balance has stabilised, thaw them out and transfer to the uterus.
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