Life begins in a petri dish

Sudha Umashankar | The Hindu | 16 October 2011

We all started off as embryos in our mothers’ wombs. But, for the young ones of hundreds of sub-fertile couples taking the ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) route to parenthood, life begins in a petri dish, under the watchful eyes of an embryologist. The embryologist carefully handles the sperms and eggs from the time of collection, and thereafter either sets the stage for a swayamvara of sorts by mixing the sperms and eggs together — in vitro fertilisation (IVF), or facilitates an arranged match through intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or Intra cytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection (IMSI), and incubates them in the lab for fertilisation.

Says Sasikala Natrajamani, scientific director and chief embryologist, Crea Conceptions — Centre for Assisted Reproduction, Chennai: “Embryology looks at the very beginning of life from the one-celled organism — egg or sperm. Embryologists examine fertilisation and track the development of the embryo until it bears a resemblance to its progenitors.”

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