By Cristina Mestre Ferrer BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 05/09/2014

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technique. Its main characteristic feature is that fertilisation between the egg and the sperm is performed outside the woman’s body, that is to say, at the laboratory. Later, after embryo culture until day 3 or 5, embryo transfer is conducted.

The main advantage of IVF is its high success rate, which reaches up to 50% per cycle. As for the cumulative average success rate, it may reach up to 90% after 3 attempts. Fertilisation is conducted through human intervention; therefore, in case of severe male or female infertility problems, achieving pregnancy is possible.

Culture plate

The in vitro fertilisation technique is less invasive than other assisted reproductive treatments, since, despite human intervention, the spermatozoa ultimately have to enter the egg by their own, which means that a biological screening in conception occurs.

Another significant advantage is that this is an ancient technique. Thanks to the use of this technique, the first baby girl was born on 1978 and she got pregnant naturally later, which proves this method’s efficiency. In addition, the risks for the mother have been widely studied and minimized. There are lots of assisted reproduction clinics which perform this technique on a daily basis, which translates in millions of newborns worldwide thanks to IVF.

Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information