IVF - The Little Miracle With A Big Blessing In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a modern procedure to resolve an ancient problem with infertility whereby a childless female may achieve the joy of pregnancy and childbirth. It is a semi-artificial procedure whereby an infertile woman may achieve pregnancy and childbirth by mostly natural causes, but with an artificial means of original conception. The term, in vitro, is Latin which means "in glass," that is, outside the body in a laboratory environment. The first procedures were literally performed in the proverbial glass test tube, giving rise to the still popular term, "test tube baby." However, a petri dish is the typical implement used now. Today, while the term, IVF, is still applied, it refers to any number of different biological techniques outside of the body as opposed to in vivo procedures, in which tissue manipulation by assisted means occur within the womb. The IVF procedure, in simple terms, is conducted during the normal period of ovulation in the menstrual cycle. A healthy ovum is extracted from the female body and placed on organic material in a Petri dish to introduce sperm by artificial means to achieve fertilization. After the embryo is cultured for 3 to 5 days, demonstrating at least 6 to 8 cell reproduction cycles, the embryo is implanted into the uterus, where the normal process of pregnancy continues naturally, hopefully to full term and birth. In order to achieve a successful IVF procedure, there must be a healthy ovum extracted from a female, extracted healthy sperm from a male, and a healthy uterus in a female to sustain a pregnancy. While it is not necessary to have an ovum and sperm from a married couple, or an unmarried couple wishing to have children, because one of them may be infertile, IVF is an effective procedure in order to assure at least one of them is a biological parent. If both are infertile, it is still an effective procedure for a couple to have children. IVF is a successful means to overcome female fertility issues not affecting her ova or uterus, and male infertility issues not affecting the sperm. The first successfully performed procedure was in 1978, but it is still an expensive procedure that is generally employed only after other conception assistance procedures to achieve pregnancy have failed. In order to achieve the highest degree of success (although IVF cannot guarantee success and there are many examples of repeated failures of the procedure), a ratio of sperm to ovum may be as high as 75,000:1, allowing nature to take its course to fertilization. Their incubation after introduction may be as long as 18 hours. In situations where sperm are healthy, but their motility is poor, one sperm may be artificially injected into the ovum to achieve fertilization. The success rate of IVF varies depending on the age of the host female and shows a decline as age increases. However, even in females under 35, the success rate of first effort is less than 48%.