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What is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?

Infertility is when you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a year without success. It includes inability to get pregnant as well as experiencing miscarriages or stillbirths. If you’re experiencing infertility, you’re probably feeling very discouraged. You’re not alone, because as many as 15 percent of couples experience infertility. 

Fortunately, there are forms of treatment for infertility called assisted reproductive technology.  What is assisted reproductive technology (ART)? ART refers to a variety of techniques that are done to increase the chance of getting pregnant, and these techniques include complex procedures that may involve the manipulation of eggs, sperm, or embryos. 

Types of ART

Each couple struggling with infertility faces unique challenges. The best infertility treatment for you depends on your age, your partner’s age, and the cause of infertility. Depending on your situation, some techniques that may be recommended include:

  • Artificial Insemination. This technique is also called intrauterine insemination (IUI), and it involves placing sperm into the uterus while a woman is ovulating. The sperm may be from the partner or from a sperm donor. This procedure may be done in combination with medications that stimulate ovulation. 
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). This is the most widely used form of ART. It’s done by combining the egg and sperm outside the body in a lab setting and allowing the embryo to grow for a few days under carefully controlled conditions. One or more embryos may be implanted into the woman’s uterus. IVF is a safe procedure with a high success rate.
  • Frozen Embryo Transfer. In vitro fertilization can result in multiple embryos and extra embryos can be frozen for future use. Frozen embryo transfer involves thawing frozen embryos and then implanting them into the uterus. This is a simpler and less expensive form of ART since ovaries don’t need to be stimulated before doing this procedure and eggs don’t need to be retrieved.
  • Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. This technique may be a good choice if infertility is sperm related. It may be done along with IVF and it involves injecting a single sperm into the center of an egg.
  • Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer. In this procedure, the eggs are removed, combined with sperm, and placed in the fallopian tubes where fertilization can occur.

There are many factors that can affect the success of ART. One of the most important factors is age. Fertility declines with age, and fertility treatments are less likely to be successful for women in their mid-thirties and older than for younger women. Patients may need several cycles of treatment to successfully attain pregnancy.

Assisted reproductive technology provides hope to couples struggling with infertility and it also makes parenthood possible for same-sex couples and for single adults who want to have children. There continue to be advancements and improvements in the field of ART.

If you’re considering ART, the best thing to do is set up a consultation with a fertility specialist. The experts at The Center for Reproductive Health can help to identify possible causes of infertility and the best treatment options. Call today to set up a consultation.