Test tube baby

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MARC’s first test tube baby born on February 18, 1999

Manipal Assisted Reproduction Centre (MARC) headed by Professor Pratap Kumar has been placed on the highest level of success in the treatment of infertility. On February 18, 1999, Manipal’s first test tube (in vitro fertilized) baby was born when Mrs. Suma Naveen Shetty gave birth to her son Naman at Kasturba Hospital, Manipal. Suma conceived by an assisted reproductive method called In Vitro Fertilization or IVF.

IVF is the most well known advanced Assisted Reproductive Technique. It is otherwise known as “test tube baby” and has helped many infertile couples to conceive and bear children. These days fertilization actually occurs in a dish and not a test tube. It was originally developed to help couples to overcome tubal factor infertility, but has become useful in treating other factors such as immunological problems and unexplained infertility.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) requires a team of experts. Profesor Pratapkumar acquired extensive knowledge in long association with various world’s leading centers in USA, UK and Belgium. Satish Kumar Adiga, Embryologist has obtained specialized training in National University Hospital at Singapore. The procedure requires several weeks and consists of four basic steps.

First, women takes medications to produce multiple follicles in her ovaries. Woman usually grow a single egg in a month. In order to increase the chances of pregnancy occurring, she takes medication to induce several follicles to develop. (A follicle is a bag of water that houses the egg and is usually visualized on the video screen of an ultrasound machine). This step is referred to as ovarian stimulation or superovulation.

Step two involves monitoring follicular growth by using ultrasound to determine egg growth and uterine lining development. When it is determined that the follicles and the uterine lining are appropriately mature, her egg retrieval is scheduled.

Third step begins with retrieval of the eggs by passing a small needle through the vagina using ultrasound machine. During the oocyte collection procedure, a powerful stereo microscope receives the follicular fluid containing the eggs. The egg is identified and placed in a special culture medium, which consists of several essential chemicals. The eggs remain in the carefully controlled system for 4-6 hours before the addition of the specially processed sperm to allow the fertilization process to occur.

The fertilization occurs in the dish and fertilized egg is now known as embryo. The embryo is kept in the medium and placed inside an artificial womb called incubator. Embryo will grow as if it is inside the womb. In the fourth step, when the embryo reaches a particular stage, usually after day-2, it will be transferred into the mother’s womb using a small catheter. Embryo now attaches to the womb and further development will takes place in the mother.

The success rate in IVF is 30-35%. The possibility of a pregnancy being achieved depends on the age and reproductive health of both wife and husband.

Dr. Pratap Kumar

Professor and Head Department of Obstetrics and gynecology 

Kasturba Medical College, Manipal – 576 119

Karnataka, India

E-mail: drpratapkumar@hotmail.com

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