HANK MORGAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HANK MORGAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
In vitro fertilisation (IVF): technician removing samples of frozen sperm from a flask of liquid nitrogen. In IVF, sperm and ova (eggs) meet in a petri dish, where fertilisation may take place. Fertility drugs given to potential mothers stimulate production of several ova rather than the usual one. Ova are usually harvested by laparoscopy, a surgical procedure using optical fibres linked to a collecting needle that are inserted through the abdominal wall. In successful cases, embryos are transferred back to the woman's uterus via a catheter through the cervix.
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