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Pipette used in IVF, Europe, 1999

Pipette used in IVF, Europe, 1999

Credits: Science Museum

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Eggs need to be fertilised with sperm during IVF (in vitro fertilisation). This usually occurs in the laboratory. The eggs are checked after approximately 20 hours to see if any have been fertilised. If the sperm are slow or weak, sperm is injected directly into the egg using pipettes while looking through a microscope. A human egg (ovum) is approximately 0.1mm in diameter. This means precise coordination is needed.

Object number:

2002-384

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Glossary:

Glossary: pipette

A graduated tube (marked in ml) used to transport a definite volume of a gas or liquid in laboratory work.

Glossary: artificial insemination

When carried out under medical supervision, sperm is deposited directly onto the uterus, usually via a thin tube-like catheter. The purpose is to achieve fertilisation and thereby pregnancy without the need for sexual intercourse.