‘Test-Tube Babies’ Now Having Children

logo-san-francisco-chronicleOver the past 23 years, Dr. Louis Weckstein, the center’s medical and in vitro fertilization director, has watched with pride as a very large extended family grew up. The center says it has helped give birth to more than 5,000 children.

“I remember when IVF babies were so rare,” he said. “Now you go to any grade school in the Bay Area and there are lots of IVF babies.”

A successful fertility treatment depends on cultivating an embryo that is likely to grow into a healthy baby. Over the decades, several technological advancements have helped refine that process and boost success rates.

That’s true for in vitro fertilization, which consists of fertilizing multiple eggs in a solution with sperm and transferring them into the woman’s uterus.

When the procedure was new, scientists would grow embryos for just two days before embedding them in the woman. At that stage, it was tough to tell which embryo would succeed, so more than one was usually implanted to improve the odds. The result, nine months later, was often twins or triplets.

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