Assisted Reproductive Technology

Assisted reproductive technology (ART), also known as fertility treatment, is a broad term which refers to various methods to achieve pregnancy by means other than natural intercourse. ART has become particularly popular with rising infertility. Some of the ART methods include intra uterine insemination (IUI), in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), laser assisted hatching, blastocyst transfer and surrogacy.

In intrauterine insemination (IUI), the sperm is placed inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. IVF is a process by which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the human body. In-vitro literally means in glass and babies born by this method are called test tube babies. Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is most commonly used to in cases of male infertility problems. In this procedure a single sperm is injected directly into an egg. Third party assisted ART methods are sperm donation, egg donation and surrogates or gestational carriers. A surrogate or gestational carrier is chosen when a woman is unable to carry a pregnancy to term. Surrogacy is used when a female does not produce healthy eggs that can be fertilized. A surrogate woman is inseminated with sperm from the male partner of the couple. If a woman produces healthy eggs but is unable to carry a pregnancy to term, a gestational carrier can be used who is implanted with an embryo derived from the couple.

Giving heavy doses of hormones to a woman to make her ovulate during certain ART procedures can have an adverse effect on her health. A more specific problem which occurs in about 1-2% of women who undergo super-ovulation induction is a problem called Ovarian Hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS).

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