Life with a test-tube baby

June 9, 2018

A ‘test tube baby’ is a term coined to describe the babies conceived outside the woman’s womb. This happens with the help of a scientific process known as In vitro fertilization or IVF. During IVF, the woman’s eggs are extracted from the ovaries and fertilized with the sperm in a laboratory. After the fertilized egg develops, within 2-7 days it is transferred back into the womb, where the baby develops naturally. Today, test tube babies are a boon for women suffering from infertility issues.
Robert Edwards, a scientist and Patrick Steptoe, a gynaecologist, came together to make test tube babies a possibility. In 2010, Robert Edwards also won the Nobel Prize Award in Physiology or Medicine for the development of the IVF treatment.
The first test tube baby was born in the year 1978 and was named Louise Brown. This year she celebrated her 40th birthday and is doing great in her life. She is a healthy, normal, and intelligent woman. However, after the first IVF delivery, some scientists have raised red-flags regarding the health of the children conceived through IVF. These problems include; low birth weight, premature, birth and birth defects. And because this technology has been around for only 40 years, we don’t fully know the long-term effects of IVF.
The question that stills haunts parents who are trying for an IVF baby is if the test tube babies are more vulnerable to cognitive or development issues when compared to the babies born naturally. And, to answer this question a study conducted by scientists stated that when women gave birth to twins or triplets through IVF, there is a significant risk of the babies developing some form of intellectual disabilities. However, with singleton births, there is nothing to worry about.
During this study, the scientists observed around 2.5 million Swedish children and compared the IVF babies to the ones conceived naturally. The results stated that 47 in 100,000 children born through IVF suffered from cognitive defects, such as low IQ, problems communicated, not able to socialize easily, etc. And, these same defects were observed in 40 in 100,000 children conceived through natural births.
So, how is life with a test tube baby? Just like living with any other baby. The may fall sick sometimes, the little ones will keep you up at night, basically, babies are hard work. But, at the end of the day, they will always warm your heart.

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