Prashanth Fertility Research Centre

Difference between IVF and test tube baby

Difference Between IVF and Test Tube Baby

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In common, most people are unsure about the relationship between IVF and test tube babies. They have several questions, like what is IVF and test tube baby? Are they the same? What are the processes during the treatments?

According to recent research, about 10–15% of Indians have difficulty getting pregnant naturally. They visit fertility clinics to get pregnant through assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs).

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the preferred method of ART suggested to patients who didn’t get pregnant from other ARTs. Read this article to learn all about IVF and test tube babies.

Difference between IVF and Test Tube Baby

Are IVF and test tube babies the same? The answer is yes. A test tube baby is a non-medical term used to refer to babies born through IVF procedures.

When the IVF procedure was first developed, doctors termed it a “test-tube baby” because the babies were fertilized outside the uterus.

Though the name has “test tube,” the sperm and eggs were fertilized in a petri dish.

The fertilized egg’s growth is monitored for 3–5 days and then transferred into the uterus to develop further and result in a successful pregnancy.

On July 25, 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the first test tube baby, was born. This was a major progress in the development of ARTs and has thus helped millions of people around the world.

IVF Or Test Tube Baby Process

The procedure that patients should undergo during the IVF procedure is given below.

Ovarian stimulation

The ovaries naturally produce only one to two mature eggs every month during the menstrual cycle. Before IVF, a series of hormonal injections are administered to stimulate the ovaries and mature all eggs produced at once.

This will give more eggs for the doctors to collect and fertilize, thereby increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Egg & sperm retrieval

When the eggs are matured, a tiny needle is injected into the ovaries through the vagina to collect them. The patients will receive mild anesthesia, so there is no need to be concerned about pain.

On the same day as egg retrieval, men’s sperm are collected in a lab container. They are then sent for a semen analysis to determine the count, motility, and quality of the sperm.

Fertilization and embryo culture

There are two ways to fertilize the eggs: traditional IVF and ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection).

The fertilized eggs are then observed for five to six days. On average, about 50 to 60 percent of fertilized eggs reach the blastocyst stage and are ready for embryo transfer.

Embryo transfer

This is the last step of the IVF procedure. Once the embryos reach the blastocyst stage, the best one or two among them are chosen and transferred into the uterus.

There are two types of embryo transfers:

Patients have the liberty to choose which type of embryo transfer they want. But most fertility clinics prefer frozen embryo transfer because it has about 15–20% higher chances of success than fresh embryo transfer.

Is a test tube baby healthy?

This is one thing that worries parents the most. Will a test tube baby be as healthy as a naturally conceived baby?

The simple answer is yes. Test tube babies are no different than naturally conceived babies. They will be healthy and strong as a normal baby.

The main difference between a test tube baby and a normal baby is that test tube babies are born with external assistance from doctors. In contrast, normal babies are born through natural intercourse between a couple.

Embryos go through a lot of tests and analyses before they are transferred into the uterus. This prevents any disease or health conditions from being passed on from the parent to the infant.

Who All Needs the IVF or Test Tube Baby Treatments?

IVF is generally recommended for couples who can’t have a baby naturally or through other ARTs.

Other reasons include fertility problems in men and women like


IVF is a painless yet complicated process. So, predicting whether a couple’s IVF treatment will be successful or unsuccessful is challenging. For some couples, a healthy baby can be delivered on the second or third IVF cycle.

It is best for patients to consult their fertility doctor and discuss what treatments they can undergo for their fertility issues. They can also consult counsellors to get through the emotional strains of IVF treatments.


The sole distinction between IVF and conventional methods is that with IVF, sperm and eggs are fertilized in a laboratory under the supervision of skilled medical professionals. Instead of the fallopian tube, sperm and eggs are fertilized in a petri dish.

Though test tube babies have given new hope to infertile couples, they do have some disadvantages. Below are some of them.

  • Multiple births. This happens when multiple embryos are transferred into the uterus during a single cycle.
  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
  • Miscarriage
  • Ectopic pregnancy


This solely depends on the eggs and sperm used during fertilization. If the eggs and sperm belong to the intended parents, then the baby born will look like them.

If donor eggs or sperm are used, the chances of the babies resembling their parents are low.

With in vitro fertilization, women in their 20s and 30s had the highest success rates. The oldest possible age for women is 50, while the oldest possible age for men is 55.

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