|MadSci Network: General Biology|
Hi Taimur, A test-tube baby is the term that refers to a child that is conceived outside the woman's body. The first successful test-tube baby was born in England in 1978 and since then over 20,000 test-tube babies have been born worldwide. The process is referred to as in vitro (outside the body) fertilization. Simply put, eggs are removed from the mother's ovary and incubated with sperm from the father. After fertilization, the "pre-embryos" are allowed to divide 2-4 times (in a "test-tube", hence the name) and then returned to the mother's uterus where they can develop normally. This procedure is one of many Artificial Reproductive Technologies (ART) that are used when conception has not been otherwise successful due to fertility problems of either the mother or father or both. For a description of the different kinds of ART, see http://www.centerforhumanreprod.com/art/art.html. Best Wishes, Julianne
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