Fertilization, in vitro: IVF, a laboratory procedure in which sperm are placed with an unfertilized egg in a Petri dish to achieve fertilization. The embryo is then transferred into the uterus to begin a pregnancy or cryopreserved (frozen) for future use. IVF was originally devised to permit women with damaged or absent Fallopian tubes to have a baby. Normally a mature egg is released from the ovary (ovulated), then enters the Fallopian tube, and waits in the neck of the tube for a sperm to fertilize it. With defective Fallopian tubes, this is not possible. The first IVF baby, Louise Joy Brown, was born in England in 1978.