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What is a test-tube baby?

Human life continues through the process of sexual reproduction. This involves the fertilisation of a female egg cell with a male sperm cell. Fertilisation is a natural process the takes place inside a woman’s body. A fertilised egg takes 9 months to develop into a child, i.e. a new human being. A test-tube baby is no different from any other baby. But instead of beginning to grow inside its mother’s womb, it begins outside her body in a special glass dish called a test-tube. An ovum (egg) is taken from the woman and is fertilised with the man’s sperm in a dish. Then, the fertilised egg is replanted in the mother’s uterus where it grows for 9 months and then takes birth as a well-developed child. Fertilisation of an ovum with a sperm outside the woman’s body is called invitro-fertilisation technique. This technique was perfected by a team of British doctors, Dr. Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe after a research of 10 years. Technique of invitro-fertilisation is useful for a woman whose fallopian tubes are very narrow and male sperm cannot reach the woman’s ovum making fertilisation impossible. It is also useful to a lady whose husband does not have the required concentration of the sperms in his semen. In 1978, one Mrs. Brown had the distinction of giving birth to the world’s first ‘test-tube baby’ Louise Brown — a female child. After the birth of this child, there have been many test-tube twins and triplets. Smt. Nirupama of India gave birth to a test-tube baby in 1986. The first test-tube baby in U.S.A. was born in 1981. The biggest advantage of this technique is that the sex of the child is known in advance and the sex of the foetus could be selected at will. This technique has brought a ray of hope for those parents who are not able to produce child in a normal way.

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