Over the past two decades, the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) has increased dramatically worldwide and has led to the birth of thousands of babies for many infertile couples, who otherwise would not have been able to achieve successful pregnancy. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine defines ART as treatments and procedures involving the handling of human oocytes and sperm, or embryos, with the intent of establishing a pregnancy. The brief about the various ART procedures is described as under:
In vitro fertilization (IVF): The most common form of treatment for male and female infertility and is used widely nowadays. The IVF treatment involves removal of mature eggs or oocytes from the woman\’s ovary and allowing fertilization to take place with sperms in a petri dish in a culture medium. The fertilized eggs are then transferred to the woman\’s uterus. A boon for couples with unexplained fertility and women with blocked or damaged fallopian tubes and male partners with sperm disorders. Success rate depends on the couple\’s age and the duration of infertility.
Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): ICSI is also called as advanced IVF and the technique in which a single healthy sperm is injected into the retrieved egg under absolutely sterile conditions. The fertilized eggs are then placed back in the woman\’s uterus. It is ideal for men with very few normal or motile sperms or no sperms at all in their sample.
Intra uterine insemination (IUI): IUI is a simple procedure in which a catheter is used to inject a small quantity of washed sperm into the woman\’s uterus. This increases the number of motile sperms reaching the fallopian tubes around the time of egg release, thus improving the chances of fertilization.
In almost all these ART procedures, the woman\’s ovaries are stimulated to achieve improved egg production (the eggs\’ quality diminishes with age). The growth of follicles are closely monitored and the eggs are either collected surgically or allowed to release in a specific time frame by administering appropriate hormones.
Vitrification: It is ultra-rapid freezing of the embryo to ensure better survival and pregnancy rates. It has also indirectly reduced multiple pregnancy rates.
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