frontline: making babies

see below for text navigation
videos of two high tech procedures: Videos were produced by The Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St. Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, New Jersey
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ISCI)

Videos are no longer available

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ISCI)
A single sperm is sucked up into a microscopic thin, sharp tube and injected directly into a woman's egg. This procedure, introduced in 1992, allows couples with extremely small numbers of low quality sperm to attempt pregnancy. Both the egg and the sperm are specially prepared for this procedure. Fine variations in the technique are required to optimize pregnancy rates.
Polar Body Biospy
This genetic diagnosis procedure tests cells of the embryo for abnormalities. The ripening egg produces two small cells called polar bodies which play no part in fertilization and development; in fact, they degenerate immediately after fertilization. However, the chromosomes can still be seen in these cells up to six hours after recovery of the eggs, so it is possible to determine the chromosomal makeup of the egg.

The polar body is removed by making a gap in the outside shell (or zona pellucida) of the egg, and one or both polar bodies are removed by gentle aspiration. The biopsied polar bodies are analyzed for abnormalities. The egg is returned to the incubator, and later, fertilized. The results are available before embryo replacement.

home + discussion + interviews + videos + cloning + quiz
links & readings + contacts + synopsis + glossary
press + tapes & transcripts + frontline + pbs online + wgbh

web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation