HANK MORGAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HANK MORGAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Technician in IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) laboratory freezes sperm and eggs for storage. Cryogenic (low-temperature) freezing, typically to about -180C in a protective fluid, allows long-term storage without damaging fresh samples of eggs and sperm. When restored to normal temperature, in IVF the sperm and ova meet in a petri dish in order for fertilisation to take place. This technique is used in couples who, for some reason, are unable to conceive normally. In successful cases, embryos are transferred back to the woman's uterus to develop naturally. This technique of "outside-the-body" fertilisation can result in a test-tube baby.
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