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In vitro (‘in glass’) fertilisation (IVF) is a medical, assisted reproductive technology which fertilises eggs with sperm in a petri dish in a laboratory in cases where people are unable to conceive without such intervention. After 2–6 days of development in the petri dish in a growth medium, one or more of any successfully fertilised eggs are implanted in the womb of a woman who will then carry and deliver the baby who may result from this procedure. To obtain eggs to use in the laboratory, women providing them must first inject themselves with a course of hormones to stimulate the ripening of eggs in their ovaries, and any suitable eggs are then harvested from the ovaries for use. In 1978, the first of ...

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