Assisted-reproductive-technology (ART) has been the answer for many childless couples, resulting in a successful pregnancy and childbirth. ARTdescribes a range of infertility treatments. In vitro fertilization (IVF) was the original procedure recommended for infertility treatments but fortunately there are now a number of techniques available to help a couple conceive.
ART is not just about conception taking place, it’s aim is to ensure a healthy sustainable pregnancy.
Couples considering ART, should seek expert medical opinion on the best procedure suitable for their condition. Notwithstanding the exceptional rewards brought about by ART, there are also emotional and monetarycosts to be considered.
Much has been written about the test tube baby which also explains in-vitro fertilization – IVF treatment and other ART options, like Artificial Insemination (AI) and Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer (GIFT).
These procedures are also referred to as Assisted Reproduction Technology.
Under what conditions would ART be required? There are a number of procedures that may be prescribed, due to the advances in infertility treatments, available. Dependency would also take into consideration the infertility conditions experienced by both male and female, where ART may be required:
- low sperm count
- poor sperm motility
- anti sperm antibodies
- ovulation disorders – such as short luteal phase
- infertile-quality cervical fluid
- irregular cycles, anovulation
- unexplained infertility
Assisted reproductive technology may include and require multiple techniques to work together in order to bring about successful conception. This includes and is not limited to:
- sperm donation
- egg donation
- hormone blood tests
- fertility drugs therapy
- laboratory techniques – such as sperm washing
Micro manipulation techniques
Advanced ART techniques – micro manipulation techniques are applied to not only the egg but to an individual sperm. Manipulation by an embryologist, makes it possible for men with very low sperm count and virtually no active sperm to fertilize an egg.
Either of the three techniques specified below would precede treatment options like, Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer (GIFT) and In vitro fertilization (IVF). Such treatments are described in detail on ICSI:
- ICSI – Intra-Cytoplamic Sperm Injection
- MESA – Micro-Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
- TESE – Testicular Sperm Extraction
Male and female infertility can be overcome with the different ART techniques by bringing all the factors of child birth together, namely – healthy sperm production, ovulation, fertilization, implantation, conception and ultimately birth.
Certain of these procedures involve placing the sperm inside the woman. This could be outside the cervix, within the uterus, or directly into the fallopian tubes Others involve artificially removing the eggs from the woman’s ovaries. The differences between the procedures are based on where fertilization takes place, in or out of the body. Another difference would be where egg and sperm are returned to the body, which could either be uterus or fallopian tube.
For males who have tested with low sperm count or other sperm disorders, technique may be applied, which requires or involves “sperm washing” This process may increase the motility of the sperm. The effectiveness of the process is increased by artificially stimulating ovulation using fertility drugs.
Regardless of the procedure recommended, each has its own rate of success. The determining factors would include, the infertility age of the female, the cause of the infertility (if diagnosed as a condition), or if there are medical conditions encountered in both male and female of the couple trying to conceive.
Nonetheless, assisted reproductive technologies success rates continue to improve as more and more couples seek this treatment as an alternative means of conception.