Excerpt: Chapter 10 – The Major Leagues: In Vitro Fertilization

“So How Does In-Vitro Fertilization Work? (In 200 Words or less, Please.)”

You ever try to fix an appliance without taking it apart first? You kind of fish your hands around inside and feel for the faulty wire or the loose screw and hope you get it right? Well, that’s sort of what’s happening when the doctor tries to “fix” your fertility issues with stimulation drugs or artificial inseminations. Sure, he (or she) might tap into the problem immediately and fix it right then and there, but in a sense, he’s still flying blind.

Now imagine instead if he could take the parts outside the machine and work directly on them in a more controlled environment. Well, that’s exactly what’s going on in an IVF treatment. Anywhere from 1 to 30 eggs (depending on how many can be produced in a single cycle) are surgically extracted from your wife, and the best ones are then fertilized in a petri dish with your recently collected sperm (yeah, it’s back to The Room again). The resulting embryos are then closely observed in the lab for anywhere between three and five days, at which point the best of these are reimplanted into your wife to (with any luck) grow into a baby. See, it’s simple! (And for those of you not counting, that was exactly 200 words.)