World Embryologist Day: First 'test-tube baby' and growth of IVF
On July 25, 1978, Louise Brown became the first baby to be conceived through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
As a blessing to infertile parents, the technique has been a life-changing innovation. To acknowledge the great minds behind the process, the embryologists, this day is observed as ‘World Embryologist Day’.
Embryologists are scientists in reproductive medicine who help with all stages of IVF – from the retrieval of eggs to the development of an embryo and its implantation inside the womb.
History of IVF
In 1968, Steptoe and Robert Edwards collaborated on human IVF research. Their joint efforts led to the conception of the first human IVF baby, Louise Brown, in 1978, in Oldham General Hospital, in Manchester, UK. The duo-scientists were responsible for the conception of the world’s first ‘test tube baby’ in a clinic.
As per some reports, a baby named ‘Durga’ was born out of the same technique in 1978 in Kolkata but little is known about the same. There are claims that Dr Subhash Mukherjee wasn’t given due credit for bringing the innovation to India.
As per other reports, India’s first IVF baby was born in Agra.
What is IVF?
In vitro fertilization is a series of medical procedures used to help with the conception of a baby through external intervention. During the process, mature eggs of mothers are collected from the ovaries of mothers and are artificially fertilised in labs. The fertilised eggs or embryos are then implanted in the uterus where it grows into a baby.
The technique helps in both conceiving under unfavourable circumstances and is even diagnostic in nature.
As per reports, there are over 5 million IVF babies to date.
How can IVF help?
IVF comes to aid if a parent has fallopian tube damage or blockage, ovulation disorders, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, low sperm count, genetic disorders or other issues that cause hindrance to the conception of a baby.
It also helps in cases of unexplained infertility.
Myths around IVF
While there are myths around the process that it leads to the conception of constitutionally weaker children but as per experts, conceiving an unhealthy child can happen both organically or through lab methods as it depends on other factors like parents’ health and quality of eggs and sperm and others.