Assisted Reproductive Technology- The ART of conceiving babies

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

Assisted Reproductive Technology includes procedures like-

  1. IVF-In Vitro Fertilization
  2. IUI- Intra Uterine Insemination
  3. Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection [ICSI]
  4. Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer [GIFT]
  5. Zygote Intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT):
  6. Third party assisted ART like Sperm Donation and surrogate mothers.
  1. Intra Uterine Insemination: This is a procedure where a man’s sperms are placed inside a woman’s uterus using a long narrow tube.

    IUI is most suited for treating-
    men with low sperm count
    men with low sperm motility
    men having erection problems
    women with scarring or defects in the uterus

    IUI is used in combination with medications that promote ovulation in women. The success rate of IUI depends upon the cause of infertility. Success rates are as high as 20% in inseminations performed monthly with fresh or frozen sperms.

  2. In Vitro Fertilization: In this procedure, the sperm from the man and the ovum from the woman are taken together and fertilized in a petridish under controlled and sterile laboratory settings. The developing embryo is then placed inside the mother’s womb and allowed to continue its growth normally. Babies born out of this procedure are also called test tube babies.
    IVF is most suited for female conception problems due to defects in the fallopian tubes. Male sperm motility issues are also cases where IVF can be used successfully.
    The success rate depends upon the acceptance of the embryo by the mother’s body. In most cases, the embryo is rejected by the mother’s body as a foreign object. To avoid this, doctors often insert multiple embryos into the uterus with the hope that at least one of them will get accepted. On the flipside, this method may lead to the birth of twins or triplets.
  3. Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): One of the male sperm is placed inside the female egg with a microscopic needle, rather than many sperm positioned close to the outside of the egg, as in IVF, in a dish in a lab. Once fertilization occurs, the resulting embryo is placed in the uterus.
  4. Gamete Intra Fallopian Transfer [GIFT]: The eggs of the female are combined with the sperm of the male in a laboratory and then placed inside the fallopian tubes. The fertilization happens inside the woman’s body and implantation happens naturally. This method has now become redundant due to the better success rates with IVF.
  5. Zygote IntraFallopian Transfer (ZIFT): As with GIFT, the female eggs are mixed with the male sperm in a dish in a lab, then surgically placed in the woman’s fallopian tubes. But, as with IVF, your doctor will wait until fertilization occurs to place your embryos inside of you. This procedure is no longer commonly performed because it has a lower success rate than IVF.
  6. Donor Egg: This method is used in cases of female infertility where the production of eggs is the problem .Here the egg from a donor is taken and mixed with the sperms of the male partner. The resultant embryo is then implanted into the female partner’s womb.
  7. Surrogacy or gestational carrier: Another woman ‘rents out’ her uterus to infertile couples. The pregnancy here is achieved naturally or through any of the above mentioned assisted methods.