IVF is the union of an egg and sperm in artificial conditions in a laboratory. The union of an egg and sperm results in the formation of an embryo. The embryo is transferred to the uterus which if accepted results in a pregnancy. This process of IVF is done in conjunction with fertility drugs along with monitoring of hormone levels through blood tests and follicle scans with ultrasound.
In a lab setting, the fertilization process is overseen by professionals. Once an embryo is formed, it can then be transferred into a woman's uterus, where subsequent development can occur naturally.
Although many factors can influence the ultimate outcome of IVF, the process has resulted in numerous successes. Babies conceived through IVF are no more likely to suffer birth defects than children conceived naturally.
In vitro fertilization is a way to bypass negative issues related to normal conception. The female body might be incapable of fostering fertilization because it does not allow sperm to reach the egg. In some cases, the body will actually fight against the sperm cells with antibodies. IVF eliminates sperm's exposure to such hostile environments.