In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the body, in vitro. In vitro is Latin for in glass which in the case of IVF refers to a test tube or Petri dish.
IVF is an infertility treatment that process involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing ova (eggs) from the woman's ovaries and letting sperm fertilize them in a fluid medium (in vitro). The fertilized egg is then transferred to the patient's uterus with the intent to establish a successful pregnancy.
Usually, IVF treatment is pursued once other treatments have failed, following months of trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully.
The first successful birth of a "test tube baby", Louise Brown, occurred in 1978. Robert G. Edwards, the doctor who developed the treatment, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2010.