What is assisted reproductive technology (ART)?
The term “assisted reproductive technology (ART)” refers to all the treatments in which the sperms and eggs are handled outside the human body. It generally involves giving fertility medications (usually in form of injections) to the female partner in order to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, which are surgically removed from the human body and are the eggs are then fertilized with sperms in a specially designed laboratory. The embryos thus formed are transferred back into the uterus of the woman.
What are various forms of ART treatments?
There are two main ART treatment options available for patients-
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) – This is the most commonly used ART treatment. Each egg taken out of the ovaries is placed in a petridish with 50,000 to 100,000 sperms and allowed to fertilize and grow inside an incubator. The resulting embryos are then transferred back into the woman’s uterus.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)- In ICSI, a single sperm is injected into a mature egg as opposed to “conventional” IVF procedure. ICSI is used for couples with male factor infertility, where the male partner is able to provide only a small number of sperms- either normally or retrieved by surgical means. Sometimes ICSI is also used for older couples or for those with failed IVF attempts.