In vitro fertilization (IVF) is becoming more prevalent as a procedure to promote fertility in infertile couples.
The technique is no longer considered experimental and can be as successful as a natural pregnancy when performed under the right conditions.
Recent data estimates that there are about 1.5 million IVF cycles performed around the world each year, resulting in approximately 350,000 babies.
The total number of IVF babies is estimated to be around 5 million by the end of this year.
IVF takes a womanâ€™s egg and fertilizes it in culture with sperm from her male donor. Â The embryos are allowed to grow for 3-5 days, at which time they are transplanted into the womanâ€™s uterus.
The fertilization process can be optimized using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where the sperm is injected directly into the unfertilized egg.
An IVF procedure is costly and can range from $12,000-$17,000 per cycle. Â The costs are often not fully covered by insurance companies.