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Unit 1 - IVF
A large risk of IVF treatment is multiple pregnancy twins or triplets.

Unit 1 - IVF

This GCSE Biology quiz examines IVF, or in vitro fertilisation. It looks at both the mechanics and the ethics of producing 'test tube babies'.

IVF stands for in vitro fertilisation and when it was first developed, the newspapers referred to the process as producing 'test tube babies'. The world's first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978. Her birth marked the beginning of a new era in human reproductive biology and has offered hope for childless couples worldwide. If a couple are having difficulty conceiving a child naturally, in many cases IVF can be used.

IVF involves the creation of an embryo outside the body, which is implanted back into the woman and develops normally into a baby. The hormone FSH is used to stimulate the production of ova (egg cells) which are collected from the woman. The healthiest and strongest sperm from the man is then selected and mixed with the ova in the hope that some of them will be fertilised.

If fertilisation doesn't occur, a fine needle is used to artificially fertilise an egg with one of the sperm. The fertilised ova are then left to grow for nearly a week during which time the woman is given hormone treatment that prepares her womb to receive and grow the embryo. Finally, the best one (or two) embryo(s) are transferred to the woman's uterus where they grow.

Despite the obvious benefits of this process, there are several isues surrounding in vitro fertilisation. There are some people who don't really like the idea because they think that it could lead to 'designer babies' in which the parents choose the characteristics of the child they want and discard the other embryos. An example of this could be to avoid passing on a genetic defect or simply to have a child who will be taller than average. Another issue is using surrogate mothers. A surrogate mother is a woman who has the embryo of a couple who have undergone IVF implanted in her womb. It is not unknown for surrogate mothers to refuse to hand over the child when it is born.

What does ethical mean?
Social impact
With any artificial biological process like IVF, there is always a need to consider the ethics
What does IVF stand for?
In vivo fertilisation
In vitro fertilisation
Intra venous formulation
In vitro formulation
in vitro means in glass or in a test tube
A hormone is a chemical messenger. Where do hormones travel?
In the urine
In the ovary
In the pituitary
In the blood
Hormones are chemical messengers that produce a change in their target cells
Who invented IVF treatment?
Jenner and Pasteur
Robinson and Smith
Edwards and Steptoe
Frank and Benny
They also succeeded in producing the first boy to be conceived by IVF, Alastair MacDonald, who was born in 1979
Which of the following is a risk of IVF treatment?
Multiple pregnancy twins or triplets
Chest infection
Usually more than one embryo is implanted. Each one could develop into twins or triplets which can lead to complications during pregnancy
If a couple's baby is implanted into another woman, what is she known as?
A donor
A carrier
A surrogate
A biological mother
It is possible for a woman to give birth to another woman's child
Name a hormone used in IVF treatment to stimulate eggs.
This stimulates the ovaries to produce egg cells
During IVF, where are the egg and sperm mixed?
Inside the vagina
Outside the body, in the lab
In a surrogate mother
Inside the uterus
During the 1980s, scientists improved the number of successful IVF fertilisations and these days it is much more reliable
Hormonal treatment of the mother to stimulate egg production can lead to what?
Painful, swollen ovaries
No affect
Difficulty sleeping
The treatment puts great demands on the ovaries since many eggs are required in order for IVF to be successful
What is the most common reason for having IVF treatment?
No uterus
Too old
No partner
Egg tubes (fallopian tubes) damaged
Chlamydia infection is the leading cause of fallopian tube damage, hence infertility
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - IVF

Author:  Donna Maria Davidson

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