Overview of Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Infertility affects around 14% of couples who are reproductive age. Infertility is inability to conceive a child after 12 months of unprotected intercourse. With modern medical technology, pregnancy is now possible for many infertility couples. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) uses state of the art equipment. At our fertility clinic, our skilled, knowledgeable embryologist and doctor can help you overcome many fertility hurdles.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
IVF is the most common assisted reproductive technology available. This technique is used by more couples than any other procedure. IVF involves combining the woman’s eggs and the man’s sperm in the laboratory to fertilize and create embryos. Once embryos develop, they are placed inside the woman’s uterus.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI is used when there is problems with the man’s sperm. With ICSI, a single sperm is placed into a mature egg in the laboratory setting. This way, the hardiest, best sperm is selected for fertilization. After an embryo develops, it is then implanted into the woman’s uterus. This procedure has a 15-20% success rate.
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
GIFT involves combining the woman’s eggs and the man’s sperm in the laboratory, and then inserting the eggs back into the woman’s fallopian tubes. The fertilization occurs in the woman’s body naturally. The success rate of GIFT is around 30%.
Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)
Much like GIFT, the eggs are mixed with the sperm in the laboratory with ZIFT. They are then inserted back into the woman’s fallopian tubes. ZIFT involves fertilization occurring before the eggs are placed back into the woman. ZIFT has a success rate of approximately 30%.
With this procedure, an egg from a donor is mixed with the intended male partner’s sperm. Once the egg is fertilized, the resulting embryo is implanted into the female partner’s uterus. When the mans’ sperm is not viable, donor sperm may be used.
Donor sperm has been used by couples for years. This is an option when the man’s sperm is not capable of fertilizing the egg. It is also an option for single women who wish to have a child without a male partner, or for lesbian couples. You can choose a donor using a list of personality and physical characteristics.
Also called cryopreservation, excessive eggs can be removed during IVF or GIFT procedures, and then frozen until the couple needs them. This is used when a woman wishes to delay pregnancy. Egg freezing is also used for donors.
Failure for an embryo to implant into the uterus can occur following embryo transfer. Laser micromanipulation is a technique designed to assist the embryo from breaking away from the surrounding layer (zona pellicuda). Using a precision laser, an opening is made in this layer to weaken it. The embryo then can break away and implant into the uterus.
When a woman cannot carry the baby, a surrogate mother can be used. Surrogacy is where the intended male partner’s sperm is used to inseminate the surrogate’s egg. Upon delivery, the baby is turned over to the intended parents.
Candidates for Assisted Reproductive Technology
ART can benefit any couple who are experiencing infertility. Candidates are those who:
• Have female infertility by a woman in her late 30s or 40s
• Women with a decline in egg quality, due to genetics, age, or hormone imbalance
• Women with endometriosis or reproductive organ problems
• Women with nonfunctioning fallopian tubes due to past surgery, infection, or genetics
• Men with low sperm count
• Men with poor sperm motility (movement)