What is Assisted Reproductive Technology

Infertility has evolved into one of the typical problems in India. Hundreds of couples suffer from the pain of not having a child.

But thanks to the advancement in technology which has made it possible for those couples to have a child. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is a method that helps in treating infertility issues. This article will discuss various types of ART, including success rates, benefits, risks, and the ethics of the technology.

What is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is a fertility treatment that helps couples facing difficulty or inability to conceive. Its treatment includes procedures like IVF, Artificial Insemination, and Surrogacy.

ART is used to treat infertility problems in both men and women. Its procedure involves extracting the egg from the female body and then fusing it with sperm to generate an embryo. The embryo is then transferred back to the female body. IVF is the most effective ART technology based on the same principle.

Other ART techniques use the donor egg, sperm, or embryo that has been frozen earlier. Gestational carrier or Surrogate technique is also used in some cases.

However, it also has some side effects, such as increased chances of multiple pregnancies. But embryologists can take care of this by restricting the count of embryos used to insert into a female body.

Why is there Need to Perform Assisted Conception?

There are many factors that contribute to infertility. Here are some of the main reasons for assisted conceptions: –

Assisted Reproductive Technology

For Males

  • Poor Sperm quality or poor sperm motility – Includes Oligospermia and Azoospermia. Some sperm cells are malformed or die before reaching the egg.
  • Age is one of the major causes. More the age lesser the sperm count
  • Ejaculation or erectile deficiency
  • Structural abnormalities – If the shape of sperm is affected, sperm will not be able to bind or swim towards the egg.

For Females

  • Poor Ovulation or Egg Quality– Women suffering from PCOS usually have poor egg number and quality and fail to ovulate because of hormonal imbalance.
  • Block Fallopian Tube– Due to infection, endometriosis, scar tissue, or adhesions can damage the fallopian tube. Because of this egg cannot enter the tube, or sperm cannot get into the egg.
  • Age is an essential factor because the quality of the egg decreases with age and restricts her from getting pregnant.

Related Post: Blocked Fallopian Tubes: Symptoms, Treatment, and Fertility

Other reasons to opt for assisted reproductive technology include pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, and other unexplained conditions.

Types of Assisted Reproductive Technology?

Following are the different types of assisted reproductive technology:

In vitro fertilization (IVF)

IVF is the most suitable type of assisted reproductive technology. In this, fertilization occurs outside the body in a petri dish in a lab. Embryologists then select the healthy embryo and insert it back into the female uterus.

It is the best option for women who have blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, suffer from endometriosis, have ovulation problems, or have unexplained infertility issues.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

In this, sperm cells are collected and injected directly into the uterus when the woman is ovulating. This option is best for those facing problems with semen, having difficulty in intercourse, using a sperm donor, etc.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

This treatment is used for those couples where the male is infertile or having problems with decreased sperm count, low sperm motility, and a high number of abnormal sperm.

Sometimes it is also used for those with failed IVF tries or even for more aged couples. In this, sperm is directly introduced into a mature egg rather than placing the sperm next to the egg.

Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)

In Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT), egg and sperm are combined outside the body in a dish and injected into the fallopian tube using a laparoscope. Fertilization takes place inside the body, and the embryo implants naturally.

Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)

ZIFT is somewhat similar to IVF, in which eggs and sperm are mixed outside the body. It is then placed in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus.

As the fertilized egg is transferred directly into the tubes, the process is known as tubal embryo transfer (TET). This is more successful than GIFT because the doctor can ensure that the egg is fertilized.

ZIFT is commonly chosen by couples who have failed to conceive after trying for a year or have failed five to six ovarian stimulation cycles with IUI.

Artificial Insemination

In this, sperms are inserted into the female’s uterus or cervix to achieve pregnancy without sexual intercourse. Intrauterine insemination, Intracervical insemination, and Intratubal insemination are its type.

Intricacies associated with Assisted Reproductive Technology?

There are complications associated with assisted reproductive technology, such as pregnancy, birth, and labor complications. In this, the chances of multiple pregnancies are higher. Chances of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia are common.

There can also be other complications, such as low birth weight and premature labor. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is when the abdominal cavity is filled with fluid, Increased stress and anxiety due to fear of failure and financial strain on the couple, etc.

What’s the Success Rate of Assisted Reproductive Technology?

The success of the treatment is based on many factors such as age, lifestyle, type of infertility, the clinic you are opting for the treatment, etc.

As per the report, 40 to 45% of Assisted Reproductive Technology results in success for women under 35 years of age. And for women above 35 years of age, it is 30 to 35 %.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A: Women having a problem in the uterus, or, for some reason, the uterus is not functional or due to surgical removal of the uterus can opt for gestational surrogacy. In which the embryo is transferred to the uterus of a woman willing to carry the pregnancy on behalf of the infertile couple.

Yes, a legal issue is involved with using donor eggs, sperm or embryos, or gestational carrier. One must understand the legal rights of the person who donates any gamete or embryo and find the procedure to become the legal parent of an implanted embryo.

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