HANK MORGAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HANK MORGAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
In vitro fertilisation (IVF): close-up of petri dish holding a medium containing a maturing embryo following successful fertilisation ; the process is being checked through a binocular microscope. In IVF, egg & sperm meet in a petri dish: 2-3 ova (eggs) previously harvested from the potential mother are suspended in a liquid medium and mixed with sperm, stored by freezing & carefully thawed to ambient temperature. The pink colour of the medium is due to an acid-base indicator; pH & temperature are critical. In successful cases, a healthy embryo is implanted into the mother's womb via a catheter through the cervix.
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